Telephonic conversation between PM Modi and PM Lotay Tshering of Bhutan

Published By : Admin | May 11, 2021 | 12:50 IST

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had a telephone conversation today with the Prime Minister of Bhutan, Lyonchhen Dr. Lotay Tshering.

The Bhutan Prime Minister expressed solidarity with the Government and the people of India in their efforts against the recent wave of COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister conveyed his sincere thanks to the people and Government of Bhutan for their good wishes and support.

He also appreciated the leadership of His Majesty the King in managing Bhutan's fight against the pandemic, and extended his best wishes to Lyonchhen for the continuing efforts.

The leaders noted that the present crisis situation has served to further highlight the special friendship between India and Bhutan, anchored in mutual understanding and respect, shared cultural heritage, and strong people to people links.

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Self-reliance in Defence for a Self-reliant New India
May 29, 2023

The 21-gun salute made on the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence by an artillery gun manufactured in India, marked the beginning of a new era in Aatmanibharta. Self-sufficiency of the Defence forces remains paramount for strategic Independence considering India’s geographical location. The indigenisation of the Defence forces would help not just reduce dependency on others, but also helped in creating opportunities for innovation, and propel the defence industry of India to export globally as well. In the last nine years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been setting up a path by bringing in reforms and removing hurdles which prevented the Armed Forces from equipping themselves. The Defence forces now have equipped themselves with highly innovative Made in India defence equipment.

Setting up the Make in India industry

India had predominantly remained an importer of defence equipment till recently. PM Modi’s clarion call to become ‘Aatmanibhar Bharat’ was the foundation stone for India’s journey towards self-sufficiency. Though India’s manufacturing prowess and innovation were at a high, still there were several hurdles impeding the growth of this industry. As a first step, the liberalisation of Foreign Direct investment was raised from 49% to 74% which would attract investors to invest in India to maximise utilisation of India’s Defence manufacturing industry and would also allow them to transfer the latest technology in manufacturing as well. This step taken by the government has led to an increase in investment in the last nine years.

The Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) was reformed in 2016, which facilitated in emphasising on pushing the defence manufacturing sector towards self-reliance through the encouragement of indigenously designed, developed and manufactured weapon systems. The reworking of the Ordnance Factory Board into 7 new Defence companies has resulted in the companies making huge profits.

The Government too had taken steps to reduce dependency on the purchase of arms and equipment. The expenditure of the government towards the modernisation of defence forces has also seen a steep increase. This has resulted in the manufacturing industry being at par with the speed with the world in terms of innovation and modern manufacturing technology. This also had a positive impact on creation of new jobs and opportunities. The Positive Indigenisation List was another initiative taken by the government in ensuring that a calculated approach is adopted. Currently, 2,500 items are already indigenised which has resulted in Rs 1,756 crore as import substitution value. The commissioning of INS VIKRANT India’s first indigenously built aircraft stands as a pinnacle of India’s manufacturing prowess, a moment of pride for our Defence Services and our indigenous manufacturing industries.

Promoting India’s Innovation

The government has launched the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) to foster innovation and technology development in the defence and aerospace sector, by establishing incubation and infrastructure support to startup enterprises in the sector. iDEX promotes self-reliance as envisioned in Aatmanirbhar Bharat by engaging with stakeholders from industries including MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes and academia.

The government had launched SRIJAN portal as a one stop online portal that provides access to the vendors to take up items that can be taken up for indigenization. More than 29,000 defence items have been uploaded on the portal and offered to the industry for indigenisation. Over 7,000 defence items have been indigenised, which cater to the domestic and global markets.

The government is setting up new Defence Industrial Corridors which has been a game changer. This would help in setting up new industries as well as creating new job opportunities for the youth. A technology Development Fund (TDF) scheme has been launched to provide financial support and expertise to upgrade existing products/ systems, and processes. Till date, a total of 68 projects at a total cost of Rs 287.4 crore have been sanctioned under TDF Scheme.
Trust in Make in India – Defence

The persistent efforts taken by the Modi-led government in the last 9 years have ushered in a new era of Defence exports. A tenfold increase has been recorded since 2016-17. The Defence export has reached Rs 15,920 crore FY 2022-23. India is now exporting defence equipment to over 85 nations. Defence procurement from foreign sources has reduced from 46% of overall expenditure in 2018-19 to 36.7% in 2022.

The trajectory of growth in both indigenous defence industries and exports has risen exponentially. Those days where defence lobbyists would advocate a particular country or equipment are over. The progressive reforms coupled with India’s innovative thinking have resulted in growth. India today has shifted from an import-dependent to becoming one of the major exporters. The trust shown by the world is a testament to the path adopted by PM Modi.