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Sitharaman launches vessel, asks defence PSUs to expand market

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A representational photo.

PANAJI (PTI): Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Thursday asked public sector defence undertakings in India to look at the world as a market for their products.

She was speaking at Vasco town after launching a Coast Guard offshore patrol vessel (OPV) of the Goa Shipyard Limited, a public sector undertaking.

"I want not just the Goa Shipyard but every defence public sector undertaking to look at manufacturing of international class. Not just look at your captive market like the defence forces, but look at world as a market which you need to reach out to and compete globally," she said.

Internationally there is an immense interest in buying defence products like the OPVs from India, she said.

Many overseas clients have shown an interest in buying from India, the minister said.

"I want the management (of defence PSUs) together with experts to capture those markets which are appreciative of your work. If they are appreciative of your work, half the work is done. You need to go and negotiate," she said.

"You should have the confidence to get up and say that there is a market and can the government help us to get there and get it. You are capable of producing more. Please put on that attitude to say that we are able to compete globally and help us in that," the minister said, adding, "We will still support you."

Prime Minister Narendra Modis call is not just to Make in India but also to export, the minister said. "The PM is looking at India as a manufacturing hub," she said.

Coast Guard Director General Rajendra Singh said launching of the OPV is essential considering the ever dynamic security scenario.

"The presence of Indian Coast Guard addresses twin objectives of deterrence and reassurance," he said. The Yard 1233 ship isa new generation OPV equipped with sophisticated sensors and equipment. It is also capable of operating a light combat helicopter," Singh said.

Goa Shipyard Chairman and Managing Director Commodore B B Nagpal said launching of the vessel within two years of laying the keel is a significant achievement.

The 'Sachet' vessel is the first of five such OPVs being built by the yard. The project of constructing the five OPVs for was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2016.

The OPV will be assigned the work of patrolling and policing Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), an official said.

The vessel is 105 metre long and has a displacement of 2,350 tonnes at full load and an endurance of 600 nautical miles. A team of 14 officers will be commanding it with a crew of 133 personnel.

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