Defexpo 2018: Defence readiness was hit by policy paralysis, says PM Modi

PM Modi flagged off the all-electric superfast train manufactured under Make in India project

He said the government successfully resolved the issue of providing bullet proof jackets to Indian soldiers which was kept hanging for years. "You would have also seen that we have brought the process to a successful conclusion with a contract that will provide a boost to defence manufacturing in India", the Prime Minister told his audience of worldwide delegates, foreign industry captains and domestic manufacturers.

Lauding the small and medium sector's contribution to defence production, Mr Modi said that defence production by SMEs has grown by 200 per cent in the past four years.

NAYANIMA BASU Amidst a raging controversy over the procurement of Rafale fighter planes from France, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a dig at the Opposition, saying "laziness, incompetence and hidden motives" under the previous UPA government had hit defence preparedness. Govt is also setting up two defence industrial corridors - one in Tamil Nadu, and another in Uttar Pradesh.

India has never desired to covet the territory of any other nation, rather has been an apostle of peace, he said.

Prime Minister Modi recounted the many initiatives and reforms brought about in the Defence sector.

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His almost half-an-hour speech laid down the government's roadmap to take India to its goal of being one of key makers and exporters of defence equipment.

Modi also referred to the Indian Air Force's long-awaited request for information (RFI) issued last week to global vendors for the procurement of 110 single-engine and twin engine fighters under the Defence Procurement Procedure of 2016 to facilitate indigenous military hardware manufacturing.

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

Quoting former president APJ Abdul Kalam, the Prime Minister said, Kalam asked us to dream, dream and dream. Focusing on the importance of the manufacture of defence products PM Modi said that the factory force of defence manufacturing play an important role in statregising the decisions.

"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.

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India has purchased more than $15 billion worth of USA 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.

Modi's speech, however, did not touch upon any areas other than defence, manufacturing and Make in India. Products including 100 Mbps radio relay equipment, which provides reliable and secure telecommunication link in a hostile electronic warfare environment and a secure military wireless LAN were launched.

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

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".

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