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From being known as an arms importer, India today has found a place in the list of top 25 arms exporter nations and today the Defence export has touched Rs 16,000 crore, Defence Minister Raj Nath Singh said here on Saturday. Speaking at a Defence Summit organised by a private media organisation here, Rajnath Singh said, “Earlier, India was known to be an arms importer.

But today, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, we have come out of our comfort zone and found a place in the list of top 25 arms exporter nations. Seven to eight years ago, defence exports did not even touch Rs 1,000 crore and today, it has touched Rs 16,000 crore”. He said, by 2028-29, the annual defence production is expected to touch Rs three lakh crore and defence exports Rs 50,000 crore. The Minister said the Government is focusing on long-term gains and not short-term outcomes to make India a developed nation by 2047.

Rajnath stated that unlike in the past, the present Government has formulated and implemented policies which not only provide short-term gains for just five years. Singh added that while the Government is supporting huge companies, it is also inviting young ignited minds to the defence sector through start-ups, terming it another step taken for longterm gains. He said in the coming 20-25 years, these companies, on the back of their innovations, will help give a new dimension to India’s strong identity on the global stage.

The Minister referred to the recent meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council, in which effective steps were taken to promote start-ups. For procurement from start-ups, costing, payment terms, eligibility etc have been liberalised, he said. Rajnath informed that in the Financial Year 2023-24, capital acquisition worth more than Rs 4,35,000 crore have been given in-principle approval till now. Stressing on the Prime Minister’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat, the Defence Minister emphasised that radical changes have been made in the defence sector for long-term gains to make it completely self-reliant.

He stated that imposing a ban on import of arms was a short-term difficulty as today that challenge is slowly turning into opportunity, and India is rising on the defence industrial landscape of the world. “Today, our military is using weapons and platforms, which are manufactured on our own soil” he said. Singh reasserted that no military can protect its nation from equipment imported from outside, and self-reliance in defence production is must for today’s India.

He also pointed out that the Government’s persistent efforts towards self-reliance have started to bear fruit as the defence production has crossed Rs one lakh crore. On the emergence of technology as a great warrior in today’s constantly-evolving times, Rajnath Singh underscored the significance of investing in futuristic technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, quantum computing, smart weapons, cyber warfare and space warfare. He voiced the Government’s long-term vision of making India a major player in the field of technology, saying that a number of steps have been taken, including the launch of Innovations of Defence Technology (iDEX), Technology Development Fund scheme under DRDO and the setting up of National Research Foundation.

Singh said the aim of the the Government is to manufacture high-end systems like aero-engines and gas turbines in India in the coming five years. “When the ability and dedication of our youth is extraordinary and the intentions of the government are clear, the question of setting simple targets does not arise. We will soon embark on an exciting journey towards achieving extraordinary goals,” he said. He also added that women are being provided opportunities in every field at par with their male counterparts, which is another important aspect of the Government’s long-term approach.