Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has urged US defence companies to invest in India, asserting that the country is a strong and reliable investment destination in terms of co-production and co-development.
He said that US companies should focus on the transfer of technology through joint ventures and be part of India’s Make in India initiative aimed at self-reliance.
The defence minister was delivering the inaugural address at the 18th India-US Economic Summit on the theme ‘Bouncing Back Resilient Recovery Path Post Covid-19’, organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce through video conferencing on Wednesday.
Terming the defence sector as an integral part of not just the security but overall growth of the country, Rajnath Singh said India is now home to a stable and secure government which focuses on economic growth through a series of reforms.
“Robust domestic demand and availability of a talented young work force and innovation make India a major investment destination,” he said.
According to an official statement, the defence minister called upon the industry leaders to focus on the transfer of technology through joint ventures to realise the country’s true potential in the defence sector.
“The foreign OEMs can set up manufacturing facilities individually or partner with Indian companies through a joint venture or technology agreement to capitalise on the ‘Make in India’ initiative,” Rajnath Singh said.
He said beginning the process of Research and Development (R&D) with the young minds of the country will increase the linkages among the industries and create an ecosystem through equal contribution from academia and research.
Expressing confidence that American firms will find India a major investment destination for defence manufacturing, Rajnath Singh assured the industry that the government is open to new ideas to create a business-friendly environment in India and is committed to pushing all types of entrepreneurship and manufacturing in the defence sector.
The defence minister said the summit is taking place at a time when India is celebrating the 75th year of Independence, terming it a platinum opportunity for foreign industries, especially US companies, to contribute to building ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
“I am sure that the economic and strategic partnership between India and the US will act as a spring board and the forum will act as a bridge to achieve this,” he added.
Talking about the close ties between India and US, Rajnath Singh said that the Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, 2+2 ministerial dialogue, Quad security dialogue and agreements like Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) have taken the bilateral relations to greater heights.
He, however, emphasised that the relationship is yet to receive its full potential, saying that several progressive policies have been put in place in the last two years that have given the defence sector an unexpected growth trajectory.
The measures include setting up of Defence Industrial Corridors in Uttar Pradesh & Tamil Nadu; increasing the FDI limit to 74 per cent through automatic route and 100 per cent through the government route under certain circumstances; inclusion of the 'Buy and Make' category in Defence Acquisition Procedure-2020 which provides a vendor with an economical workforce and India gets technology & trained manpower; draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP-2020) with provisions to incentivise foreign investment and notification of two positive indigenisation lists to increase business collaboration, the official statement said.