Defence equipment can be indigenously manufactured thanks to the courage shown by the leadership of the armed forces: Prime Minister Modi

He credited the “courage” of the armed forces’ leadership for inducting ‘Make in India’ products like the indigenous Tejas aircraft, light combat helicopters, and aircraft carriers into the defence forces.

In describing the “change” occurring in India, PM Modi said: “The change is occurring very rapidly.” When pigeons were released in this country, now we have the power to release cheetahs.”

PM Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, along with other dignitaries at the DefExpo2022, in Gandhinagar, on October 19, 2022 (Photo: Government of Gujarat)

The world trusts India’s technology today because the country’s defence forces have demonstrated the capability of these products. The Indian Navy has included the INS Vikrant as part of its fleet. The masterpiece of engineering was created using the indigenous technology of the Cochin Shipyard. As part of the Make in India campaign, the Indian Air Force introduced Light Combat Helicopters, and the Indian Army bought indigenous field guns. The modern artillery at Hazira is defending the country’s borders. In order to achieve this position, our policies and reforms have played a significant role,” said Prime Minister Modi at the inauguration of DefExpo 2022 in Gandhinagar on October 18.

According to PM Modi, approximately 68 per cent of India’s defence budget is allocated to Indian companies. This means that the funding will be used to purchase products manufactured by the country’s people. As a result of the courage shown by the leadership of the armed forces, this is a significant decision. Decisions are made in accordance with the wishes of the armed forces. It is an honour for me to have officers in my military who are taking such decisions.”

“Our forces have determined that the maximum amount of equipment needed for the country’s security will be purchased domestically. There are two lists of equipment created by the defence forces. A list of equipment purchased in the country and equipment purchased from overseas if necessary,” he said, adding that 411 items were purchased domestically.

PM Modi at DefExpo2022, said, “It is the first such Defence Expo in the country where Indian companies are participating, where there are only Made in India defence equipment.” (Photo: Government of Gujarat)

PM Modi stated that Brahmos missiles manufactured in India were also a “favourite option” for several countries. Many nations have a great deal of interest in the Indian fighter aircraft Tejas. At the event attended by representatives from 70 countries, he added that our companies supply defense parts to the United States, Israel and Italy.

In highlighting India’s rapid growth in exports, PM Modi said: “New India has demonstrated its intent, and Make in India is now a success story for the defence industry.” The export of defence products to 75 countries has increased eight times in the last five years. The number of exports we made in 2021-22 was $1.59 billion or Rs 13,000 crore. According to estimates, it will reach $5 billion or Rs 40,000 crore within the next few years.”

“These exports are not restricted to a few items or a few countries. According to him, Indian defence companies are becoming vital to the global supply chain.

Postponement of DefExpo

Earlier this year, PM Modi discussed the postponement of DefExpo. “We had planned to hold this event some time ago. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, the time had to be changed. This resulted in some delays. Foreign visitors were inconvenienced… I know some countries were also inconvenienced, but many countries have joined us positively,” he said about the postponement of DefExpo 2022 following the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war in March 2022.

During his speech, the Prime Minister addressed a large number of African representatives at the event. He said: “Fifty-three friendly countries from Africa stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us.” As time has passed, the friendship and relationship between India and African countries have grown more robust,” he said, citing Gujarat’s ties to Africa as an example. “The first train to run in Africa was built by people from Kutch,” Modi stated, noting that Gujarati words like “Dukaan” have made their way into African dictionaries.

Defence forces will release a list of 101 more items that cannot be imported to India. (Photo: Government of Gujarat)

According to him, maritime security is becoming increasingly important on a global scale, especially in countries of the Indian Ocean region, which extends from the coasts of Eastern Africa to South-East Asia.

Given the absence of foreign exhibitors at DefExpo 2022, PM Modi cited the event as exclusively held to display products manufactured in India. “DefExpo used to be held in the country earlier as well. The current edition of DefExpo, however, represents a new beginning. A first for the country is the first DefExpo where only Indian companies are participating and only Made in India equipment is displayed,” he said, adding that there were 1,300 exhibitors, including Indian companies, foreign joint venture firms, MSMEs and more than 100 startups.

New Airbase at Deesa

As PM Modi laid the foundation stone for a new IAF air base at Deesa in north Gujarat, he stated: “The construction of Deesa airfield is an important achievement for the nation’s security and development of the region.” If our forces, especially the IAF, are at Deesa, we can respond more effectively to any reckless behaviour on the western border.”

Prime Minister Modi stated that the Gujarat government had given land for the airfield way back in 2000. “During my tenure as chief minister here, I constantly emphasized the importance of the airfield to the then government at the center. However, nothing happened during the 14 years of the UPA rule. PM Modi noted that the files (about the project) had been left in such a way that even after I reached the PMO, it took time to rectify the situation.

During his remarks to the audience, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel stated that the upcoming airbase at Deesa will provide air defense for Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar.

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