Uttar Pradesh is going to be developed as the biggest hub of the defence sector in the coming times. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, inaugurating the Defence Expo 2020 in Lucknow, made this promise.
Saying it was “double pleasure” for him to be in the city as he was welcoming the people in the capacity of both prime minister and MP, the prime minister told an audience of businessmen from all over the world that India had strengthened its position in both defence and space.
In Lucknow, the prime minister said that this year’s expo was India’s largest, which was historic. More than 1,000 defence manufacturers are participating in it. Ministers and traders from many countries were in the audience. “The youth of India will get an opportunity to contribute to Make in India, which will create new employment opportunities,” the prime minister said.
Regarding the neighbouring countries, the prime minister said, “We are in an area where there is a responsibility to secure our neighbours as well. India has always given the message of peace to the world; we have not attacked anyone. Thousands of our soldiers were martyred in the two World Wars, but that fight was not for us.”
The prime minister said, “India is leading the 21st century in the world today. This is living proof of India’s vastness, prevalence and diversity. India is moving ahead with a big role in the field of security and defence. This increases India’s confidence.”
The prime minister said, “As the era is changing, the security concerns are increasing too.” Modi said that the misuse of technology was a threat to the world. “The world is moving forward on the issue of security. India is on the same path,” he said.
On technology, the prime minister said that India was working to increase artificial intelligence (AI) in the defence sector. “In the next five years, we want to work on making 25 AI products,” he said.
Modi said that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had worked on the issue of defence, which his government was taking forward. “Till 2014, only 217 defence licences were issued, but after we made the government, this number has reached 460,” he said.
At the Defence Expo, the prime minister said that India was making modern weapons for its needs and other countries of the world are buying India’s products. “In the last two years, India has exported defence equipment worth 17,000 crore. We want to increase it to Rs 35,000 crore in five years. Our policy was focused only on imports, but now it has to be changed,” he said.
Defence corridors in Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu
The prime minister said that to give further momentum to defence manufacturing in India, new targets, new targets had been set. “Our goal is to increase the number of MSMEs in the field of defence production to 15,000 in the next five years,” he said.
In Lucknow, the prime minister said, “Today, two big defence corridors are being built in India: the first in Tamil Nadu and the second in Uttar Pradesh. So far, more than Rs 3,000 crore has been planned for the Uttar Pradesh defence corridor. Work is going on in Lucknow as well as other cities like Aligarh, Agra and Jhansi.”
The prime minister said that in Amethi, India and Russia were working together to make a rifle. In India, not only production but also the work of assembling the product is happening, he said. “The country’s major industries should create a common platform for defence manufacturing,” the prime minister urged.
Inviting investors, the prime minister said, “We have done a better job in ‘ease of doing business’. In the last five years, our government has made research and development a national policy. Now we are scaling up manufacturing. Such steps will enhance the participation of Indian industries in the world supply chains. The world’s top defence manufacturers will get more competitive Indian partners.”
The prime minister said that India had developed indigenous technology. He said, “Today ISRO is exploring outer space for India as well as for the whole world. Then, DRDO of India is building a wall of defence to protect these assets from the wrong forces.”
The prime minister was obviously optimistic. None of the major Make-in-India projects in the defence sector, ranging from new-generation stealth submarines, mines and light utility helicopters to infantry vehicles, transport aircraft and fighter jets, have actually succeeded in the past six years. These long-overdue projects, worth more than Rs 3.5 lakh crore, are either stuck or still in separate stages of production, Sirf News had reported on 2 December.