Congress policy paralysis hit our defence: PM Modi

He reiterated that his government had resolved the issues that had not been addressed by previous governments, and added: "The country has seen how providing bulletproof jackets to Indian Army soldiers was kept hanging for years". He said that his government has brought the process to a successful conclusion with a contract that would provide a boost to defence manufacturing in the country. "I call upon all of you to actively participate in this exercise", he said.

Hitting back at the corruption allegations levelled by Rahul Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has attacked the Congress chief, saying it had hampered the defence preparedness while his government had taken "bold decisions" to meet critical requirements referring to the Rs 60,000 crore Rafale plane deal. We have seen the damage of such laziness, incompetence or perhaps some hidden motives can cause to the nation.

"We will establish 2 Defence Industrial Corridors, One in TamilNadu and another in UP. Never again", he said.

The Prime Minister said he was conscious that defence manufacturing needed government involvement at many stages. India is promoting itself as a defence manufacture and trying to change its image from defence importer to defence manufacturer.

Modi said share of Indian vendors in the procurement orders placed through defence capital expenditure has gone up from about 50 per cent during 2011-14 to over 60 per cent in last three years. "For this we are ready to take all necessary measures to equip our armed forces, including through the establishment of a strategically independent defence industrial complex".

"We know that a lot needs to be done, and many pieces of this puzzle need to fit together", the prime minister said.

Modi said defence products list for the goal of issuing licences has been revised to reduce entry barriers for the industry, especially for the small and medium enterprises.

DefExpo 2018 is stated to be the first serious attempt by the Government to transform India into a hub of military manufacturing. "The corridors will become engines of economic development and growth of defence industrial base".

Speaking about "Innovation for Defence Excellence", Modi assured that the move would help set up Defence Innovation Hubs throughout the country to provide necessary incubation and infrastructure supports for start-ups. He also pointed that while in May 2014, the total number of defence export permission granted stood at 118, for a total value of United States dollars 577 million, in less than four years, 794 more export permissions were issued, for a total value of over USD 1.3 billion. "In May 2014, the total number of defence export permission granted stood at 118, for a total value of $577 million. We have also established a Defence Investors Cell to assist and hand-hold investors involved in defence production", he said.

India has purchased more than $15 billion worth of U.S. defence equipment in the past and companies there were cooperating closely with the Indian armed services to deploy these systems to enhance military capabilities and improve interoperability.

India is reportedly looking to focus more on exporting military equipment, keeping in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" initiative.

  • Tracy Klein