Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said India is shedding its image of being a major importer of military hardware and carving an identity for itself as a defence exporter, at a time the government has taken several measures to boost self-reliance in the key sector as well as tap the potential of defence markets globally.
The PM said the world had taken note of the strides made by the country in defence manufacturing with locally produced equipment ranging from modern grenades, assault rifles and drones to fighter jets and warships. The PM made the comments during a ceremony to lay the foundation stone of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh State University at Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh.
Aligarh, once famous for its locks and lock-making skills (a fact acknowledged by the PM during his speech), is one of the six nodes of the UP’s government’s ambitious defence industrial corridor project aimed at boosting indigenous defence production and the Make in India initiative. The other five nodes in the state are Agra, Jhansi, Chitrakoot, Kanpur and Lucknow. In the Aligarh Node, land has so far been allotted to 19 firms who will together invest ₹1,245 crore. The Centre has also set up a defence corridor in Tamil Nadu.
India is wooing foreign partners to invest in the defence corridors for co-development and co-production of equipment.
The PM said the hundreds of crores of rupees being invested in the Aligarh node will create thousands of jobs.