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Sitharaman exhorts Indian defence manufacturers to tap export markets

Virendra Singh Rawat/Lucknow 11 Aug 18 | 10:28 PM

Defence Minister Photo: PTI

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday exhorted the indigenous defence manufacturing industry to look beyond the procurement by Indian forces to tap the lucrative export market for growth.

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Underscoring the need to balance indigenisation with export centric manufacturing approach for greater economic vitality and sustainability, Sitharaman said the Centre would provide all necessary handholding to the domestic defence manufacturers to scale up production and match up to the stringent quality control norms of the export market.

She informed the Centre had already relaxed standing norms of procurement to spur innovation and procure such defence wares, although not in the requirement list, if they are found to be appropriate.

“The defence manufacturers can now suo moto innovate and suggest for products which could be used by the defence forces. If they pass the mandatory trial and testing stages, there is an assured market for them," she announced adding the government would guarantee procurement for at least 10 years.

Sitharaman was speaking at a Defence Corridor event in Aligarh this afternoon in the presence of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, senior officials of the three wings of the Indian defence forces apart from the representatives of some foreign countries and defence manufacturers.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on February 21, 2018 announced setting up of a Defence Corridor in Bundelkhand region of UP. Another Defence Corridor is coming up in Tamil Nadu.

“I can assure you there is momentum in both the corridors and our ministry officials are in constant touch with the various stakeholders including industry," Sitharaman said adding the Centre was taking a holistic approach towards these proposed corridors so that there is a ready supply of trained manpower and presence of market before production starts

An exhibition has also been organised to allow a peek to the private sector manufacturers to ascertain the specific requirements of the Indian defence forces for supply.

The Bundelkhand Defence Corridor spans 6 districts viz. Agra, Aligarh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Jhansi and Chitrakoot.

In his address, Adityanath said the state had identified about 4,000 hectares of land near Jhansi flanking the proposed route of the Bundelkhand Expressway for the Corridor and the survey work had already been completed. “We have also identified 263 hectares of land in Aligarh for the Defence Corridor to leverage the inherent strength of the district in industrial manufacturing of locks and other hardware."

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Meanwhile, the CM urged Sitharaman to award the hosting of the forthcoming Aero India Show 2018 to UP, so that it boosted the prospects of the Bundelkhand Defence Corridor. He assured all support to the public and private sector manufacturers.

The defence minister waxed eloquent on Adityanath saying he had always responded proactively to issues concerning development projects, saying UP was lucky to have him at the helm.

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