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India’s defence exports surge to Rs 13,000 crore as Aatmanirbhar Bharat policy picks up pace

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at an event in New Delhi (Image courtesy: PIB)

The Narendra Modi government has once again said that it remains focused on equipping the Armed Forces with state-of-the-art weapons and equipment manufactured by a self-reliant defence industry.

“Self-reliance and secured borders are central to making India a powerful nation,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said at an event in New Delhi today, echoing PM Modi’s vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

Outlining the detailed vision, Singh listed a number of steps taken by his ministry to reduce dependence on imports, including the issuing of positive indigenisation lists.

Citing the example of the recently-commissioned INS Vikrant, which contains 76 per cent indigenous content, the Defence Minister stated that India has the ability and capability to manufacture modern weapons and platforms. He exuded confidence that the country will start manufacturing modern and effective water, land, sky and space defence platforms in the next 10 years.

He appreciated the fact that due to the steps taken by the government in the last few years, defence exports have seen a massive jump.

“There was a time when India only exported defence equipment worth Rs 1,900 crore. The figure today has crossed Rs 13,000 crore. We have set a target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore for defence production by 2025, including Rs 35,000 crore worth of exports. We are well on course to achieve the target,” he said.

Terming border area development as another aspect at the core of the government’s vision, Rajnath Singh said that all efforts are being made to increase connectivity with far-flung areas to further strengthen the preparedness of the Armed Forces and link the country with people residing in the region. He lauded the exceptional synergy between the Armed Forces and the general public in the North-East states and their patriotism, despite challenging circumstances.

He termed North-East as the arm of India which was ignored for a long time after independence. He asserted that the progress of the North-East has been one of the major focus areas of the government, led by Prime Minister Modi since the beginning as the region is crucial for the economic, social, political and strategic development of the country.

“Our greatest achievement in the last 8.5 years has been the restoration of peace and prosperity in the North-Eastern states. Since 2014, there has been about an 80-90 per cent reduction in violent incidents in almost every state of the Northeast. Most of the extremist organisations have either been rooted out or have surrendered and joined the mainstream. Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act has been removed from 80 per cent of the areas. This was made possible as now there is peace, stability and durability in the region,” he mentioned.

The minister described connectivity with the Northeast as another achievement of the government in the last 8.5 years. He stated that air, road and rail connectivity infrastructure has been strengthened and there is now a direct link with the region.

He termed the Union Cabinet approval of the Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North East Region (PM-DevINE) as a testament to the government’s commitment towards the progress of the Northeastern states.

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