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With military exports on radar, Rajnath meets security heads of neighbouring countries, Africa

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with Sri Lanka's Minister of State for Defence, Premitha Bandara Tennakoon in Bengaluru (Image courtesy: PIB)

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a series of discussions with his counterparts, security advisors and top officials from the neighbouring and African countries on the sidelines of the Aero India show in Bengaluru on Monday.

Singh met with Nepal Defence Minister Hari Prasad Uprety, Sri Lanka’s Minister of State for Defence Premitha Bandara Tennakoon, Bangladesh Security Advisor Major General Tarique Ahmed Siddique, Zimbabwean Defence Minister Oppah Charm Zvinpange Muchinguri, Tanzania’s Defence Minister Basungwa Innocent Lugha, Congo Defence Minister Charles Richard Mondjo and Armenia’s Deputy Defence Minister Karen Brutyan.

India has made it clear that it does not want to remain just an assembly workshop and is looking to engage with friendly countries in defence and security based on sharing expertise and capabilities under the ‘Make in India, Make for the World’ vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While inaugurating the show on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spotlighted that India is all geared up to bring a revolution in every sector on the path of reforms.

“The country, which was the biggest defence importer for decades, is now exporting defence equipment to 75 countries of the world. The country’s defence exports have increased six times in the last five years. In 2021-22, we exported more than 1.5 billion dollars worth defence equipment,” said PM Modi.

Later, Singh addressed over 70 CEOs of local and global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) during a Round Table and called upon Indian and global industry leaders to support the Modi government’s endeavour to design, develop and manufacture cutting-edge products, using critical technologies, within the country to attain complete ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence, with the overall objective of achieving shared global peace and prosperity.

He voiced the government’s resolve of nurturing a vibrant and world-class defence manufacturing industry, terming it as the key driver of Indian economy.

The Defence Minister also enumerated a number of far-reaching reforms undertaken by Ministry of Defence to create a business-friendly climate in the country. These include setting up of defence corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu; simplification of industrial licensing processes; hike in cap on FDI in defence; opening of government trial and testing facilities for the private sector; increase in capital outlay for defence in Budget 2023-24 and launch of Technology Development Fund and Innovations for Defence Excellence.

The CEOs Round Table was organised on the theme ‘Sky is not the limit: opportunities beyond boundaries’. The participating companies included Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Israel Aerospace Industries, General Atomics, Liebherr Group, Raytheon Technologies, Safran, General Authority of Military Industries, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bharat Electronics Limited, Bharat Dynamics Limited, BEML Limited, Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited, Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Forge, Dynamatic Technologies and BrahMos Aerospace.

Also Read: Aero-India is not just an exhibition but symbol of soaring rise of New India — PM Modi