DefExpo 2018: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Launches 'Make in India' Pavillion

DefExpo 2018: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Launches 'Make in India' Pavillion

The purchase of bullet-proof jackets for soldiers had been delayed by red tape, but it has now been resolved, and an order had been placed, he said, adding that it would boost defence manufacturing in India.

PM Modi put emphasis on the Defence programme and initiatives taken by the government.

Prime Minister said, "There was a time when a critical issue of defence preparedness was hampered by policy paralysis".

Formally inaugurating IDEX (Innovation for Defence Excellence) at the sidelines of DefExpo 2018 in Chennai on Thursday, Modi added that the country had seen the damage caused by laziness and incompetence.

The Prime Minister said the government would encourage private venture capital into the defence sector, especially for startups.

He said government will undertake extensive consultations with all stakeholders about India's defence production and defence procurement policy space for the goal. "Not now, not anymore, never again", he said.

The Air Force has also launched a campaign for buying 114 fighter aircraft in India under which global bidders would be offering their planes for production in India.

"We will work with you with a sense of mission to keep our defence forces equipped with state-of-the-art systems, and to create the necessary domestic manufacturing ecosystem to achieve this".

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The Prime Minister's comments can be seen in the light of the relations between India and China, who have 3,488 km of un-demarcated boundary along the Himalayan ridgeline and the repeated attempts by Pakistan to foment trouble in Jammu and Kashmir.

"On defence manufacturing licences, on defence offsets, on defence exports clearances, on FDI in defence manufacturing, and on reforming our defence procurement, we have taken many steps", he said, describing how regulations and procedures have been made more industry-friendly and transparent.

The prime minister also said that the total number of defence export permission granted stood at 118 in May 2014, 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.

"New and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics are perhaps the most important determinants/of defensive and offensive capabilities for any defence force in the future". "In May 2014, the total number of defence export permission granted stood at 118, for a total value of $577 million".

"We are committed to building a defence industrial complex that has room for everyone - public sector, private sector, as well as foreign firms", he said.

U.S. defence majors Boeing and Lockheed Martin, Swedish aircraft-maker Saab, France's Dassault Aviation, the Eurofighter consortium and Russian jet builder United Aircraft Corporation are expected to bid for the fighter project that could be worth more than $15 billion.

US Commerce Minister Patrick Santillo said, "This is a dynamic period in our bilateral relationship as the US and India develop the major defence partner relationship and increase cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region".