Prime Minister inaugurates 10th DEFEXPO ’18 in Chennai
The 10th edition of Def-Expo was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today at the historic Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. The exhibition is being held from 11-14 April 2018 in Chennai in which over 500 hundred Indian companies, along with over 150 foreign companies are showcasing their capabilities in defence sector. More than 40 countries have sent their official delegations to the Def-Expo.
In his address, the Prime Minster announced the establishment of two Defence Industrial Corridors – one in Tamil Nadu, and one in Uttar Pradesh. These defence industrial corridors will utilize the existing defence manufacturing ecosystems in these regions, and further build upon it. These corridors will become the engines of economic development and growth of defence industrial base in the country. The government has also established a Defence Investors Cell to assist and handhold the investors involved in Defence Production.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said that not only it is the opportunity to discuss India’s defence requirements, but also to showcase, for the first time ever, in such a manner, India’s own defence manufacturing capabilities to the world. He said that Government support for technology, innovation, research and development is essential for defence sector.
“A Technology Perspective and Capability Road-map has been released to help the industry in planning and initiating technology development, partnerships and production arrangements,” he said adding, “We have launched the ‘Innovation for Defence Excellence’ scheme. It will set up Defence Innovation Hubs throughout the country to provide necessary incubation and infrastructure support to the start-ups in defence area,” the Prime Minister said.
“Armed Forces, the world over know the importance of supply chains. “But it is not just on the battle-fields, but also on the factory floors of defence manufacturing enterprises, that strategic decisions are made. Today, we live in an inter-connected world. The efficiency of supply chains is a key factor in any manufacturing enterprise. Therefore, the strategic imperative to Make in India, to Make for India, and to Supply to the World from India is stronger than ever before,” he added. He said that creating a defence industrial complex is far from simple. “We know that a lot needs to be done, and many pieces of this puzzle need to fit together. We are also aware/ that the defence manufacturing sector is unique in terms of government involvement. You need the government to grant a license to manufacture. Since the government is almost the only buyer in India, you also need the government to grant an order. On defence manufacturing licenses, on defence offsets, on defence exports clearances, on Foreign Direct Investment in defence manufacturing, and on reforming our defence procurement, we have taken many steps.”
The Prime Minister said that from 2014 to 2017, the targeted offsets obligations were 1.79 billion dollars, of which 1.42 billion dollars worth of offsets were realized. This is an achievement rate of close to 80 percent. Procurement from Micro and Small Enterprises by the Defence Public Sector Undertakings and Ordnance Factories has gone up from about Rs. 3300 crores in 2014-15 to over Rs. 4250 crores in 2016-17. This is an increase of close to 30 percent. It is heartening to note that the contribution of small and medium scale sector to defence production has grown by 200 percent in the last 4 years. The Prime Minister also announced that Private venture capital would be encouraged into the defence sector, especially for start-ups will also be encouraged. “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. India, with its leadership in Information Technology domain, would strive to use this technology tilt to its advantage.”
The Prime Minister said that in the weeks ahead, the government will undertake extensive consultations with all stakeholders, including both Indian and Foreign companies, about India’s Defence Production and Defence Procurement policy space.
“I am confident that Def-Expo will provide the opportunity to professionals and industry to find new meeting ground for developing military industrial enterprises,” he concluded.