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Not worried if cos are torn between 'America First', 'Make in India' slogans: Parrikar

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BENGALURU (PTI): Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday said it was not his concern that some companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin could find themselves torn between the slogans of "America First" of US President Donald Trump and "Make in India" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

These companies can sign military contracts by quoting from any plant existing around the globe, he told reporters after inaugurating the five-day Aero India air show at Yelahanka airbase here.

"These companies are multinational in all regards. They may have a plant in Europe. They may have plant in some other parts of the world. They may have a plant in the US. They can quote from any of these areas. So, it is not my concern and I do not worry about it much because interpretations are taken wrongly.

"Let things be more clear but basically my requirement is the government has to agree to it, whichever government agrees to it," he said.

Parrikar said he was nowhere concerned with restrictions, if any, on the movement of the companies from US to India.

"If a company head wants to shift his facility from anywhere else it is his choice whether he sets up a new one. I am nowhere concerned if there is a restriction on some movement. As far as I am concerned, as of now, there is no so such issue. No one has written to me. I am only hearing it in the media," he added.

Some industry experts have raised concern that Trump's push for "America First" rhetoric could intervene when the companies like Lockheed and Boeing go ahead with shifting of manufacturing units to India, responding to Modi's "Make In India" slogan.

Parrikar said it is for the original equipment manufacturers, which provide technology and help strategic partner set up joint venture with Indian companies, to get approvals from their country.

Meanwhile, Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju said the Airports Authority of India has decided to invest Rs 17,500 crore in the next five years for improving the existing airports.

If the growth rate has to be sustained and taken forward, the country needs to innovate and invest, he said.

"I am very happy that the Ministry of Defence has now partnered with civil aviation so that synergies of development help not only them but also our civil aviation because the sector is basically job creator," Raju said.

He said the sector needs to increase connectivity within the country and hence the civil aviation ministry recently brought out the regional connectivity scheme.

If the country is able to bring in 50 more active airports to the exiting 70-odd active airports, India can become the third largest civil aviation market in the world, the minister said.

"Right now, we are ranked ninth. So we are working on it and trying to bring this synergy along with our defence synergy," he added.

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