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Make in India not isolationist as it aims to make for world too, Rajnath tells foreign envoys

French Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at the Ambassadors' Roundtable conference in New Delhi on Monday. France said that its defence and aerospace companies remain India's steadfast partner in the path to Atmanirbhar Bharat and will be present in force at next month's Aero India 2023 show. (Image courtesy: Twitter/@FranceinIndia)

India’s self-reliance initiative is the beginning of a new paradigm of partnership with its partner countries, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in New Delhi on Monday.

Spotlighting the robust defence manufacturing ecosystem that has been created in India, and has the advantage of abundant technical manpower, Singh emphasised that the Narendra Modi government’s national efforts towards ‘Make in India’ are neither “isolationist”, nor are they just meant for India alone.

“I want to underline that make-in-India encompasses make-for-the-world. Within the domain of defence R&D and manufacturing, it translates into an open offer to you all, for joint efforts and partnerships in defence R&D and production,” the minister said while addressing the Ambassadors’ Roundtable conference for the forthcoming Aero India 2023.

Aero India Show 2023

The reach-out event, organised by the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence, was attended by Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Charge d’affaires and Defence Attaches of over 80 countries.

As India emerges as a leading defence manufacturing power with defence exports having grown by eight times in the last five years to more than 75 countries, Singh told the gathering of foreign diplomats that New Delhi remains committed to supporting the partnerships that have been forged thus far, and also form new bonds for future growth.

“Partnership and joint efforts are the two keywords that differentiate India’s defence industry partnership with other nations. India does not believe in a hierarchical conception of world order, where few countries are considered superior to others,” he said.

Making it clear that India’s international relations are guided by the very essence of human equality and dignity, the Defence Minister said that it is the Modi government’s endeavour to transcend the relationship of buyer and seller to a co-development and co-production model, irrespective of being a buyer or a seller.

“We do not believe in making or becoming a client or satellite state, and so, when we partner any nation, it is on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect,” he mentioned.

“When we are procuring defence equipment from our valued partner nations, very often, they are sharing the technical know-how, setting up manufacturing plants in India, and working with our local firms for various sub-systems.  When we are exporting our defence equipment to our friendly nations, we offer our full support towards the capability development of the buyer through sharing of technology, training, co-production,” stated Singh.

Urging the foreign ambassadors to encourage their respective defence and aerospace leadership to visit Bengaluru next month for the 14th edition of the Aero India-2023 show, Singh assured that the event will provide a unique opportunity for the exchange of information, ideas and new technological developments in the aviation industry.

The premier global aviation trade fair, which provides an opportunity for our Aviation-defence industry, including the aerospace industry, to showcase its products, technologies and solutions to the national decision-makers, will be held from February 13 to 17.

While Aero India-2021 witnessed unprecedented attendance with over 600 exhibitors physically and another 108 in virtual mode and 63 countries along with about 3000 Business-2-Business meetings held, Singh hoped that Aero India-2023 would surpass the benchmark set in the previous edition with a larger presence of exhibitors and the representatives of friendly countries.

Having domestically produced the Light Combat Aircrft and also commenced manufacturing of Light Utility Helicopter, the Defence Minister highighted that the Indian aerospace and defence manufacturing sector is well prepared to take up the future challenges and capitalise on emerging opportunities.

“India has been working towards enhancing its defence manufacturing capabilities, particularly in the emerging areas of drones, cyber tech, AI, radars and other equipments,” said Singh.

He also particularly accentuated the recently-signed contract between Tata Advanced Systems Limited and Airbus Defence and Space S.A., Spain to manufacture C-295 aircraft for the Indian Air Force.

The first project of its kind in which a military aircraft will be manufactured in India by a private company will see 16 C-295MW transport aircraft delivered in flyaway condition and 40 manufactured in India by the Indian Aircraft Contractor, TATA Consortium of Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) led by TASL.

Singh also said during its ongoing G20 Presidency, India will build consensus to shape the agenda for a more secure, prosperous, sustainable and just world.

“We envisage the G20 Presidency as an occasion to showcase India to the world, the 3 D’s of India: Development, Democracy and Diversity,” he said.

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