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Indigenisation in defence sector has to be on top of agenda: Sitharaman

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said manufacturing of defence equipment cannot be done with borrowed technology and indigenisation has to be on top of the agenda for India, which is one of the largest importers of arms in the world.

"India being the largest procurer of defence equipment, the emphasis on indigenisation has to be reiterated. This is exactly what has happened from 2014," she said, referring to the government's Make in India initiative.

"Manufacturing of defence equipment by keeping indigenisation as its top consideration has to be on top of the agenda. Manufacturing cannot be done with borrowed technology. We really got to have the drive for innovation," Sitharaman said on Monday, addressing Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists at an event here.

S Christopher, Chairman of the DRDO, said the organisation has now got an engine for Ghatak, an unmanned combat air vehicle, and is working to have DRDO sensors and weapons on the warships that are exported.

This month also marks the 20th anniversary of the 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests.

Lauding the DRDO scientists for conducting the Pokhran tests successfully, Sitharaman said they were carried out under "global watch" and restricted conditions, yet the world did not get a hint about the tests.

"There was a sense of commitment when we achieved it in such a quiet fashion," she said.

Following the Pokhran tests, the West, led by the US, had imposed sanctions on India.

Several DRDO scientists were also awarded on the occasion. Niti Aayog member and former scientific advisor to defence minister V K Saraswat was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

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