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Sitharaman launches TN Defence Industrial Corridor

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TIRUCHIRAPPALLI, TAMIL NADU (PTI): In a major move to boost indigenisation of defence manufacturing, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday launched a mega corridor to link leading military manufacturing units in five cities in South India, which entails an investment to the tune of over Rs 3,000 crore.

The project, christened the Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor, will link Chennai, Hosur, Coimbatore, Salem and Tiruchirappalli.

It is the second defence corridor being set up by the government to support various defence manufacturing units. The first one is being established in Uttar Pradesh.

Total investments worth over Rs 3,038 crore in this defence corridor were announced during the launch. A majority of the investments would come from public sector undertakings with Ordnance Factory Board, Bharat Electronics Limited and Bharat Dynamics Limited committing to invest Rs 2,305 crore, Rs 140.5 crore and Rs 150 crore, respectively.

Private companies TVS, Data Patterns and Alpha Designs would make investments of Rs 50 crore, Rs 75 crore and Rs 100 crore, respectively.

Lockheed Martin, one of the global security giants, also announced its intention to invest in the corridor.

"The response from the local industry to this defence corridor has been amazing. They even wanted to extend this corridor up to Palakkad but we had to tell them that it would currently consist of these five nodes (cities) only," Sitharaman said  while launching the corridor on Sunday.

The minister said development of these defence corridors will facilitate a well-planned and efficient industrial base that will lead to increased defence production in the country.

The idea behind setting up defence industrial corridors is to ensure connectivity among various defence industrial units.

The five nodal cities have existing defence ecosystem in the form of ordnance factory boards, vendors working with defence PSUs, and other allied industries.

The Sunday meeting in Tiruchirappalli was attended by over 500 industry representatives. Several ministers and senior officials of the Tamil Nadu government, senior Defence Ministry officials and executives from defence PSUs were present at the event.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his budget speech on February 2, 2018, had announced that two defence industrial production corridors will be set up in the country to promote domestic defence industry.

On August 11 last year, the Uttar Pradesh Defence Industrial Corridor was launched in Aligarh with projected investments of Rs 3,732 crore.

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