India’s domestic defence production and exports have risen significantly: Rajnath Singh

New Delhi, Mar 31 (Representative) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that India’s domestic defence production has witnessed a significant increase in the last eight years, and exports of weapons and equipment have risen significantly in the same period. “We are not only catering our own needs, but are also exporting weapons & equipment to other countries. From Rs 900 crore 7-8 years ago, defence exports have skyrocketed and are nearing Rs 14,000 crore in the current Financial Year. Our target is export defence equipment worth Rs 40,000 crore by 2026,” he said. He also touched on the start-up-based innovation ecosystem created in the country. He stated that the Government’s efforts have resulted in the creation of over 100 unicorns, which is testament to the success of this ecosystem, an official statement said. From secure borders and self-reliance to a strong economy and transformed global image, India is rising as one of the strongest countries under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said at the ‘Rising India Conclave’. He pointed out that all sectors, especially defence, have been witnessing a transformative change in the last few years, which has guided India to a respectable position on the world map.

He credited the bold approach and unwavering resolve of the Government, which has ensured secured borders and a battle-ready Armed Forces backed by a self-reliant defence industry.Terming national security as Government’s top priority and self-reliance as the only medium to achieve it, he asserted that relentless efforts are being made to attain ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence. He listed out some of the steps taken by Ministry of Defence, including notification of positive indigenisation lists; earmarking of record 75 per cent of defence capital procurement budget for domestic industry in Financial Year 2023-24 and efforts to provide local companies access to international market.Mentioning about the surgical strikes, he stated that the move broke the back of terrorists and sent a strong message to the world that India will eliminate terrorism on its own soil, and if need be, on foreign land as well. He added that “Whether it was the stand-off with China or ill intentions from Pakistan, our forces have been giving a befitting reply, whenever required.” “From construction of toilets for women & ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ to their growing role in the Armed Forces, women empowerment has been at the centre of Government’s planning since the beginning.

Women are today flying fighter aircraft and being inducted in artillery. Through this, we are not only empowering our women, but strengthening the Armed Forces. This is another facet of Rising India,” Rajnath Singh said.He termed the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir as another example of the strong will of the Government. He stated that the Union Territory has ushered in a new era of peace and progress due to the decision. He added that the Government is carrying forward the vision of former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, under whose leadership nuclear test was conducted in Pokhran in 1998. “Today, we are producing big missiles, tanks, weapons and ammunition on our land. This is also a result of a strong political will,” he said. He also highlighted the Government’s resolve towards the development of the North-east region. He stated that it has been ensured that the region, full of beauty and natural resources, is well connected with the heart of the country. There is unprecedented peace in the North East, which has resulted in the withdrawal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act {AFSPA