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Wednesday 19 October 2022

Modi targets Rs 40,000 crore defence exports

PM releases fresh import embargo list, unveils indigenous trainer aircraft designed by HAL and lays foundation stone of Deesa airfield in Gujarat


By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 20th Oct 22


Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi on Wednesday inaugurated India’s premier defence exposition, DefExpo 2022, in Gandhinagar, and called for an annual exports target of Rs 40,000 crore.


“This is the first defence expo where only Indian companies are participating and it features only Made-in-India equipment”, he declared. 


“From the land of Iron Man, Sardar Patel, we are setting an example of the capabilities of India before the world,” said the PM.


The Expo has more than 1,300 exhibitors from the Indian defence industry, some joint ventures (JVs) with foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), medium, small and micro enterprises (MSMEs) and over 100 start-ups.


Modi said this provided a glimpse of India’s capability and possibility. He said that more than 400 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) were being signed for the first time ever.


At the India Pavilion, which showcased “Make in India” success stories, the PM unveiled the HTT-40 – an indigenous basic trainer aircraft designed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). According to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the HTT-40 has state-of-the-art contemporary systems and has been designed with pilot-friendly features.


The HTT-40 is an indigenous triumph, having completed all its systems checks and flight tests. With over 60 per cent in-house parts and collaboration of private industry, the MoD regards the HTT-40 as a shining example of the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat.


Modi also launched “Mission DefSpace” to develop innovative solutions for the in the space domain through industry and start-ups.


The MoD’s thrust on Africa has brought in the participation of several countries from that continent. The PM expressed happiness that “when India is giving shape to its dreams, 53 friendly countries from Africa are walking with us.”


Also drawing in more countries  is the 2nd Indian Ocean Region plus (IOR+) conclave that is being held during the Expo, in line with the PM’s vision for Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR). 


The PM also laid the foundation stone of the new Deesa airfield in Gujarat, stating that the forward air force base will enhance the country’s security.


Talking up India’s success in growing defence exports, the PM said: “Our defence exports have grown eight times in the last five years. We are exporting defence materials and equipment to more than 75 countries in 2021-22 India’s defence exports reached $1.59 billion (Rs 13,000 crore). And the target is to reach $5 billion i.e., Rs 40,000 crore.”


Underscoring the MoD’s “Positive Indigenisation Lists,” which designates equipment that would be procured only from within the country, Modi released another list of 101 such items, taking to 411 items the overall number of items mandated for indigenisation. 

The MoD had earlier promulgated three “Positive Indigenisation Lists”, comprising 310 items on August 21, 2020, May 31, 2021 and April 07, 2022 respectively. The “Fourth Positive Indigenisation List” of 101 items was announced by Modi today.


The Prime Minister called upon all the companies present at the DefExpo and urged them to give shape to these opportunities keeping the India of the future at the centre. “You innovate, take a pledge to be the best in the world, and give shape to the dream of a strong developed India. You will always find me there supporting you”, he concluded.


Speaking before Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh termed the massive participation in DefExpo 2022 of over 1,300 Indian exhibitors, besides high officials from more than 80 countries; as a thumbs-up to India’s growing capability.


Rajnath Singh emphasised that national security has always been accorded top priority by the Government. “Land, water and sky are already witness to the valour of our military, but now we are expanding our defence capabilities by reaching the depths of the ocean… and heights of space,” he said.


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