Rising Defence Sector
The sky of Bengaluru is witnessing the potential of New India today. The sky of Bengaluru today is testifying that new heights are the reality of New India. Today the country is touching new heights as well as scaling them.
This event of Aero India is an example of India’s growing potential. The presence of around 100 countries of the world in Aero India demonstrates the world’s growing faith in India. More than 700 exhibitors from India and abroad are participating in it. It has broken all the previous records. Indian MSMEs, indigenous start-ups and well-known global companies are participating in Aero India. In a way, the theme of Aero India ‘The Runway to a Billion Opportunities’ is visible everywhere from the ground to the sky. I wish this potential of ‘self-reliant India’ continues to grow like this.
Along with Aero India, ‘Defence Ministers’ Conclave’ and ‘CEOs’ Round Table’ are also being organized here. The active participation of CEOs from different countries of the world will help in increasing the global potential of Aero India. It will also become a medium to take forward India’s credible partnership with friendly countries. I congratulate the Defence Ministry and industry colleagues for all these initiatives.
The importance of Aero India is very crucial for another reason. This is happening in Karnataka, a state which has expertise in the world of technology. This will create new opportunities in the aerospace and defence sectors. This will open up new possibilities for the youth of Karnataka. I also appeal to the youth of Karnataka to make their expertise in the field of technology the strength of the country in the defence sector. The way for new innovations in defence will open further if you take advantage of these opportunities.
When a country moves forward with a new thinking and new approach, then its systems also start changing accordingly. This event of Aero India also reflects the new approach of New India today. There was a time when it was considered to be mere a show or mere a window to ‘Sell to India’. This perception has also changed in the country in the last few years. Today Aero India is not just a show; it is also the strength of India. Today it focuses not only on the scope of the Indian Defence Industry but on self-confidence as well. This is because today India is not just a market for the defence companies of the world. India today is also a potential defence partner. This partnership is also with those countries which are far ahead in the defence sector. India is emerging as an important partner for those countries which are looking for a reliable partner for their defence needs. Our technology is cost effective as well as credible for these countries. You will find ‘best innovation’ in India and ‘honest intent’ is visible before you.
There is a saying in our country: “Pratyaksham Kim Pramanam”. That is: Things which are self-evident need no proof. Today, our successes are proof of India’s potential and capability. Today, Tejas fighter planes roaring in the sky are proof of the power of ‘Make in India’. Today, the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in the Indian Ocean is a testimony to the expansion of ‘Make in India’. Be it the C-295 aircraft manufacturing facility in Vadodara, Gujarat or the helicopter unit of HAL in Tumakuru, it is the growing potential of ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ in which there are new options and better opportunities for India as well as the world.
The New India of the 21st century will neither miss any opportunity nor will it lack any effort. We are geared up. We are bringing 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.
You are also aware that defence is such an area whose technology, market and business are considered very complicated. Despite this, India has transformed its defence sector within the last 8-9 years. However, we consider this to be just a beginning. We are aiming to increase this export figure from 1.5 billion to 5 billion dollars by 2024-25. The efforts made during this period will act as a launch pad for India. India will now move fast to join the world’s largest defence manufacturing countries. Both our private sector and investors are going to play an important role in this regard. Today I would call upon the private sector of India to invest in India’s defence sector as much as possible. Your every investment in the defence sector in India will create new avenues for your business in many countries of the world apart from India. There are new possibilities and opportunities ahead of you. The private sector of India should not let go of this opportunity.
The India of ‘Amrit Kaal’ is moving forward like a fighter pilot. A country that is not afraid of scaling heights, a country which is excited to fly high. Today’s India thinks fast, thinks far ahead and takes quick decisions just like a fighter pilot flying in the sky. And most importantly, no matter how fast India’s pace is, it is always connected to its roots, it is always aware of the ground situation. That’s what our pilots do too.
The deafening roar of Aero India also has the echo of India’s ‘Reform, Perform and Transform’. Today, the kind of decisive government, the kind of stable policies, the kind of clear intention in the policies that India has, it is unprecedented. Every investor should take full advantage of this supportive environment in India. You are also seeing that the reforms in the direction of Ease of Doing Business in India are being discussed all over the world today. We have taken several steps to create an environment conducive to global investment and Indian innovation. The rules for approving Foreign Direct Investment in the defence sector in India have been simplified. Now FDI in many sectors has been approved through the automatic route. We have simplified the process of granting licenses to industries, increased their validity, so that they do not have to go through the same process again and again. The tax benefits available to the manufacturing companies have also been increased in the budget of India that was introduced 10-12 days back. Companies associated with the defence sector are also going to benefit from this initiative.
According to the natural principle, the industry in a country will grow further where there is demand, capability and experience. I assure you that the process of strengthening the defence sector in India will gather momentum at an even faster pace. Together we have to move forward in this direction. I am sure we will witness even more grand events of Aero India in the future.
(Excerpts from the Prime Minister’s address at inauguration of Aero India 2023, Bengaluru, Karnataka on February 13)