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English rendering of PM’s address at the post-budget webinar ‘Aatmanirbharta in Defence-Call to Action'

Posted On: 25 FEB 2022 2:02PM by PIB Delhi

Namaskar!

The theme of today's webinar ‘Atma-Nirbharta in Defence -- Call to Action’ explains the intentions of the nation. You will also see the commitment of self-reliance that India has been emphasizing in its defence sector for the last few years in this year's budget.

Friends,

Our defence manufacturing was very powerful even during the period of servitude and immediately after independence. Weapons made in India played a big role in the Second World War. Although this strength of ours kept on weakening in the later years, it shows that there was never a shortage of capacity in India then and there is no shortage even now.

Friends,

The basic principle of security is that you should have your own customized and unique system, only then it will help you. If 10 countries have the same type of defence equipment, then your armies will have no uniqueness. There can be uniqueness and surprise elements only if the equipment are developed in your own country.

Friends,

This year's budget has a blueprint for developing a vibrant ecosystem from research, design and development to manufacturing (defence equipment) within the country. About 70 percent of the defence budget has been earmarked for the domestic industry only. So far, the Defence Ministry has released the Positive Indigenization List of more than 200 defence platforms and equipment. Since the announcement of this list, contracts worth Rs 54,000 crore have been signed for domestic procurement. Apart from this, the procurement process related to equipment worth more than Rs 4.5 lakh crore is also in various stages. Very soon, the third list will be out. This shows how we are supporting defence manufacturing in the country itself.

Friends,

When we import weapons, its process is so long that many of them become outdated by the time they reach our security forces. Its solution also lies in the AatmaNirbhar Bharat campaign and Make in India. I would also appreciate the armed forces of the country for making very important decisions, keeping in mind the importance of India's self-reliance in the defence sector. The confidence and pride of our defence forces swell high when they have indigenous equipment. We should also understand the feelings of the soldiers posted on the border. I remember I once had the opportunity to chat with jawans at the Wagah border when I was not in any corridor of power and was working for my party in Punjab.  During the discussion, the soldiers posted there told me one thing which touched my heart. They told me that the gate of India on the Wagah border was slightly smaller than the gate of our enemy. Our gate should also be bigger and our flag should be higher than (our enemy). This is the spirit of our jawans. Our soldiers remain on the border with this feeling. They feel proud about things made in India. Therefore, our defence equipment should be according to the feelings of our soldiers. We can do this only when we become self-reliant.

Friends,

There has been a change in the way the wars were fought in earlier times and now. Earlier, it used to take decades to modify the equipment of war, but today modification happens in no time. It hardly takes time for the weapons to become outdated now. The modern technology-based weapons become outdated even more quickly. The strength of India's IT is our great potential. The more we use this power in our defence sector, the more assured we will be in our security. For example, cyber security! Now it too has become a weapon of war and is not limited to just digital activity. It has become a matter of national security.

Friends,

You are aware of the competition that exists in the defence sector. There used to be various allegations while procuring arms and equipment from foreign-based companies. I don't want to go deep into it. But it is true that every purchase was mired in controversy. Due to the competition between different manufacturers, there is a continuous campaign to degrade the products of rivals. As a result, confusion and apprehensions arise and there is room for corruption. A lot of confusion is created regarding weapons whether they are good or bad, useful for us or not. It is done in a planned way. It is part of the battle in the corporate world. We get solutions to many such problems from the AatmaNirbhar Bharat campaign.

Friends,

Our ordnance factories are a great example of the results that follow when we move forward with complete sincerity. Our Defence Secretary has also mentioned it. Prior to last year, we created seven new Defence Public Undertakings. Today their business is expanding rapidly, reaching new markets and getting export orders as well. It is also very pleasant that we have increased defence exports by six times in the last five-six years. Today we are providing Made-in-India defence equipment and services to more than 75 countries. As a result of the government's encouragement to the Make in India, more than 350 new industrial licenses have been issued for defence manufacturing in the last seven years, whereas in the 14 years from 2001 to 2014, only 200 licenses were issued.

Friends,

Twenty-five percent of the Defence R&D budget has been set aside for industry, start-ups and academia so that the private sector should also come on par with DRDO and defence PSUs. A Special Purpose Vehicle Model has also been proposed in the budget. This will establish the role of the private industry as a partner beyond just a vendor or supplier. We have also created new possibilities for the private sector in the space and drone sectors. The defence corridors of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and their integration with the PM GatiShakti National Master Plan will give much-needed strength to the country's defence sector.

Friends,

A transparent, time-bound, pragmatic and fair system of trial, testing and certification is vital to the growth of vibrant defence industry. Therefore, an independent system can prove useful in solving problems. This will also help in building the required skill-set in the country.

Friends,

The country has high hopes on you. I am sure that this discussion will open new avenues for self-reliance in the defence sector. Today I want to hear from all the stakeholders rather than give a long speech. This day is for you. You come up with practical solutions and let us know. The budget has been decided, it will be implemented from April 1, and therefore, we have this entire month to prepare. Let us move fast to implement the budget proposals from April 1. This is the purpose behind the exercise of preponing the budget by a month so that all the departments and stakeholders get full opportunity to prepare for the Public-Private Partnership model before the implementation of the budget and our time is not wasted. I urge you all that this is an act of patriotism and this is for the service to the nation. Think of profits later; concentrate first on how to make the country strong. I am happy that our three wings of the army are taking full initiative in this regard with great enthusiasm and providing encouragement. Our private sector should not lose this opportunity. I once again invite you.

My best wishes to you! Thanks!

DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of PM’s speech. Original speech was delivered in Hindi.

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DS/VK/AK

 



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