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India cannot afford to remain dependent on defence imports: Rajnath Singh

In an address at a conference, Singh, without elaborating, also said that India had to face 'trouble' in 'difficult times' in the past due to its reliance on defence imports.
Last Updated 04 March 2024, 07:24 IST

New Delhi: A huge country like India cannot remain dependent on import of military hardware as such dependency can be 'fatal' for its strategic autonomy, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday, showcasing the Modi government's priority for boosting domestic manufacturing.

In an address at a conference, Singh, without elaborating, also said that India had to face 'trouble' in 'difficult times' in the past due to its reliance on defence imports.

He said the annual volume of domestic defence production has crossed the record figure of Rs 1 lakh crore which was nearly Rs 44,000 crore around 2014.

"We will be able to maintain strategic autonomy only when arms and equipment are made in our own country, by our own people. We worked towards this, and we also saw positive results," Singh said.

"While around 2014, our domestic defence production was around Rs 44,000 crore, today our domestic defence production has crossed the record figure of Rs 1 lakh crore, and it is continuously growing," he said at the 'DefConnect 2024' conference.

The defence minister said India cannot afford to remain dependent on imports in any important sector.

"A huge country like India cannot remain dependent on imports in any important sector. If we continue to rely on imports of defence equipment and arms, it will make us dependent on other countries. This dependency can be fatal for our strategic autonomy," he said.

Singh argued that without self-reliance in key areas, including defence, India will not be able to take independent positions on global issues in line with its national interests.

"Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when our government came to power in 2014, we saw that a large part of India's defence hardware is imported. If a significant portion of a country's security related equipment is imported, then that country may have to face many difficulties in critical situations," he said.

"This has also happened with India in the past. When India was in difficult times, we faced trouble due to our dependence on imports for arms. Therefore, as soon as we came to government, we emphasised that as a nation we cannot remain dependent on arms imports," Singh said.

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(Published 04 March 2024, 07:24 IST)

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