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Rajnath urges US companies to partner India in producing military hardware

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at a US Army Pacific training site in Honolulu, Hawaii, last week (Images courtesy: Twitter/@RajnathSingh)

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has exhorted US companies to take advantage of the policy initiatives taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Government in India and carry out joint Research and development, manufacturing and maintenance of defence equipment to achieve the vision of ‘Make in India, Make for the World’.

While addressing the members of American Chamber of Commerce in India (AMCHAM India) virtually on Thursday, Singh invited the US companies for co-production, co-development, investment promotion and development of Maintenance Repair and Overhaul facilities in India.

"Of late, some US companies have expanded their local presence in partnership with Indian industry to achieve our aim of ‘Make in India, Make for the World’. We believe this is just a beginning. With increasing business, we aspire for increased investments by US companies in India," said the Defence Minister.

"Making full use of the Industrial Security Agreement, we need to facilitate collaboration and indigenisation of defence technology and boost the participation of US and Indian companies in each other’s defence supply chains. American companies are welcome to establish manufacturing facilities in India," he added.

Established in 1992, AMCHAM-India is an association of American business organisations operating in India and has over 400 US companies as members. Its principal objectives include promotion of activities that would encourage and stimulate investment by US companies in India and increasing bilateral trade.

The Defence Minister listed a number of initiatives taken by the Modi government to facilitate partnerships between major Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEMs) and Indian companies.

Rajnath Singh

"From increase in FDI limit to improving ease of doing business and from encouraging innovation through the iDEX platform to an enhanced positive list to give fillip to manufacture in India, the government is sharply focussed on enhancing the share of defence manufacturing, export by India-based companies and joint ventures,” he said.

Singh pointed out that the US companies have not only been a source of FDI and employment in India, but are also contributing to India’s defence exports, totalling around $2.5 billion to US in last five years, which is 35 per cent of total exports achieved during the period. The participation of US entities in joint R&D and industrial collaboration with Indian public and private sectors will also be important for the success of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and further strengthening the US-India relationship.

Singh has just returned from Washington after participating in the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue which he termed as "positive and fruitful".

He labeled the defence sector as a strong and growing pillar of the bilateral relationship, stating that the India-US defence ties are built on foundational agreements, military-to-military engagements, cooperation in enhancement of defence capabilities, defence trade and technology cooperation, mutual logistic share and now a new emphasis on co-development and co-production.

"Both India and US share a common vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region. The India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership is of critical importance for international peace, stability and prosperity," said the minister.

He also termed the India-US economic relationship as one of the defining business relationships of the 21st century.

"There has been a rebound in bilateral trade between the two countries over the last year, surpassing $113 billion in goods. In the same period, we have started to realise successes in the journey towards the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbharta’ by increasing India’s participation in global supply chains and surpassing $400 billion in exported goods for the first time in history. Trade and investment relationship with US is an important component of this success story.”

During the 2+2 Ministerial meeting, India and US have confirmed their intent to advance cooperation in Critical and Emerging Technologies such as advanced communication technology, artificial intelligence, quantum science, STEM, semi-conductors and biotechnology.

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