NEW DELHI — While addressing the scientists and engineers of Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) Bengaluru, Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu, said that indigenous products would play a key role in leapfrogging India as an aerospace and defense powerhouse in the coming years on Aug. 20.
Naidu said there is a need to develop cutting-edge technologies indigenously to make India self-reliant in defense technology and emerge as an export hub of modern military hardware.
While noting India’s capability to manufacture state-of-the-art missiles, satellites, and space vehicles, he said, “the paradox remains that we are still among the largest arms importers in the world.”
He said to change this situation by quickening the pace of indigenous development of critical technologies.
Drawing attention to multiple security challenges the country faces due to a highly complex geopolitical environment, the Vice President lauded the security forces for their exemplary courage and professionalism.
“It is our duty to ensure that our armed forces are fully equipped to handle any challenge and repel any security threat firmly,” Naidu said.
“India wants friendly relations with all its neighbors, but some countries are funding and supporting terrorism against India, and some harbor expansionist tendencies. Therefore, security and safety of our borders are very important for the peace and prosperity of the nation.”
Stressing that India has never been expansionist in its outlook, Naidu said that our approach is peaceful coexistence and deter the forces of terror and disruption.
“India wants to become strong for the progress and development of its people,” he said.
Referring to several policy initiatives by the Government to promote indigenization and self-reliance in defense manufacturing, Naidu said that the need to involve private partners in defense projects for fruitful results.
“We will have to depend on strategic partnerships, technology sharing, and teamwork to ensure that we build competitive products which are comparable with the best from across the globe,” he said.
He said that measures such as an increase in the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit for the defense sector, the decision to set up two defense corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, and notification of two positive indigenization lists by the Ministry of Defense offer a great opportunity to the Indian defense industry.
Praising the involvement of a large number of Indian companies with the HAL in the recently concluded deal for 83 Tejas fighter jets by the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Vice President said that such projects have the potential to transform the Indian aerospace manufacturing ecosystem into a vibrant Atmanirbhar (self-sustaining) one.
Naidu also said that the high level of risk and cost investment factor could be looked into through active collaboration between the industry and researchers.
Emphasizing the need to attract the brightest minds in R&D in the aerospace and defense sectors, Naidu called for creating a synergy between academia and industry for developing an ‘Aerospace Hub.’
“This would promote innovation and address the issue of skills shortage in this key sector,” he said.
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Saptak Datta and Praveen Pramod Tewari
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