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India to commit huge resources on modernising defence: Bhamre

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PUNE (PTI): Union minister Subhash Bhamre said the country is going to invest huge resources on modernisation of the defence sector in the coming years.

A lot of defence equipment are currently being imported, he said, and called for better collaboration between the defence sector and the industry to reverse this trend.

The minister of state for defence also urged industry leaders to invest in the country's defence sector.

He was speaking at a seminar on Tuesday on 'Defence Industry Indigenisation', jointly organised by defence-related website bharatshakti.in and city-based Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries & Agriculture, where industry leaders and officials from various defence organisations were present.

"India is going to commit huge resources on defence modernisation in the coming years. Hence, those of you (industry leaders) who are ready to invest in the sector have, perhaps, one of the best opportunities to get favourable returns on investments," Bhamre said.

Currently a lot of defence equipment are being imported. "Should we put our heads together, it should be possible for us to reverse the equation in the next few years," he said.

"When we talk about the defence sector and its requirement, I must flag that technology up-gradation has invaded the battlefield in a major way...technology up-gradation is extremely rapid. The cost of importing technology is very expensive," said Bhamre.

The government, industry, research and development (R&D) establishments and the academia have to come together to evolve Indian technologies for the country's requirements, the minister opined.

"The industry needs to know what the armed forces are looking for...what would be their requirements in the coming years. Similarly, (armed) forces also understand that R&D and business establishments require time to develop a world class product, so such initiatives are a big step giving impetus to efforts of indigenisation in the defence sector," he said.

Urging industry leaders to invest in the country's defence sector, Bhamre said capital infusion in the defence industry is another area that requires a thrust.

Private players, especially large Indian companies, need to pursue R&D as part of their business models to retain relevance of their product portfolios, he said.

The minister said in the last few years, he has traversed the country to understand the difficulties faced by the defence industry, especially the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

"Pune is important because it is also a reckonable industrial hub with adequate industrial activity that could be spurred by the industry increasing its footprint in the defence sector," he said.

The day-long seminar will have several technology sessions involving speakers from the industry, armed forces, and R&D establishments.

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