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India should become a defence manufacturing hub to bolster military preparedness: Arun Jaitley

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HIGHLIGHTS
1.Arun Jaitley bats for expanding private sector role in defence production.

2.Jaitley stressed the need for India to “unleash its own potential” to become an arms-manufacturing hub.

JaitleyNEW DELHI: India’s military preparedness, which has to be fully backed by indigenous manufacture of weapon systems and platforms through a healthy competition between the public and private sectors, is the best deterrent to guarantee peace in the region.

“No country can indefinitely win wars and battles only on the strength of trying to buy or import equipment from outside. Its security preparedness would be incomplete if it relies only on that,” said defence minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday.

Speaking at an awards function for defence PSUs, in the backdrop of the government recently finalising the “strategic partnership (SP)” policy to expand the Indian private sector’s role in defence production, Jaitley stressed the need for India to “unleash its own potential” to become an arms-manufacturing hub.

Under the SP policy, selected Indian private sector companies will partner with global armament companies to jointly manufacture fighter jets, helicopters, submarines and armoured vehicles like tanks under the “Make in India” framework.

Sloppy performance by the DRDO and its 50 labs, five defence PSUs, four shipyards, and the 41 ordnance factories as well as the failure to attract the private sector to jump into defence production in a major way has meant that India still continues to import around 65% of its military hardware and software.

“Security requirements are dictated by the kind of neighbourhood you have, and obviously in view of the peculiar situation here from a geopolitical point of view, our preparedness is the best deterrent and which is certainly a guarantee for peace as far as our region is concerned,” said Jaitley.

Referring to the SP policy, the minister said, “A healthy competition between defence PSUs and the private sector will certainly bring out the best potential. Competition is always the best guarantee for competence, for efficiency, for price control. It also provides you multiple opportunities and options.”

Turning to the economy, Jaitley said it has been logging impressive growth over the last three years. “Having completed seven decades after Independence, we have now for three years in a row achieved the distinction of being the fastest growing global economy among the major economies. We aspire to evolve from a developing economy to a developed economy,” he said.

Source: timesofindia

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