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India targeting Rs 35,000-crore exports of defence products by 2025: Rajnath

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh speaks during the Def Expo-2022 Curtain Raiser event in Gandhinagar, Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. A PTI Photo

GANDHINAGAR (PTI):  India registered defence exports worth Rs 8,000 crore in six months of the current financial year and aims to achieve the target of outbound shipments of Rs 35,000 crore by 2025, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said.

He was speaking on Monday at the curtain raiser event of Defence Expo (DefExpo), scheduled to be held from October 18 to 22 in Gandhinagar.

Singh said India's defence sector has registered exports worth Rs 30,000 crore after 2014 when the Narendra Modi government assumed office at the Centre.

He said India is progressing speedily on the path to achieve global standards of design, development and manufacturing of defence equipment.

"Before 2014, we used to achieve (defence) exports of Rs 900 crore-Rs 1,300 crore. But we have achieved exports worth more than Rs 30,000 crore to date (since 2014). We can add another Rs 8,000 crore-Rs 9,000 crore of the export target (this year)," Singh said.

We target to achieve (annual defence) exports worth Rs 35,000 crore by the end of FY 2025. We have achieved exports worth Rs 8,000 crore in six months (of FY 2022-23)," Singh said at the curtain raiser event attended by media persons.

Officials said so far 451 agreements related to the defence sector with proposed investment of Rs 1.50 lakh crore have been signed in run up to the DefExpo. Of these, Gujarat-based companies have signed MoUs with an investment pledge of Rs 5,000 crore, they said.

Singh said India has in the last few years covered a transformational journey from being a (defence) importer to an exporter. The defence minister said the 12th edition of the DefExpo will give further impetus to this journey.

"India, which was until a few years back, considered the world's biggest (defence) importer is now standing in the queue of 25 top exporting countries," Singh said in his address on the occasion.

He said more than 1,3000 companies are participating in the DefExpo, which is the largest number for the event so far. Singh said as far as import dependence in the defence sector is considered, he has created a 'positive indigenisation list' of 410 items and more than 3,000 components of public sector undertakings (PSUs) which India wants to stop importing from abroad over the next few years.

The Union minister said the theme of the DefExpo - 'Path to Pride' - is a vision of a new India. "If we want the world to trust our products, then first we will have to trust ourselves. 'Path to Pride' is a continuous process of that same trust," he said.

Singh said the expo will showcase the strength of India's defence industry with the idea of 'Make in India and make for the world'.

India achieved exports of defence items and technology worth a record Rs 13,000 crore in 2021-22 and this figure is likely to rise to Rs 17,000 crore in 2022-23, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar said. Kumar said the second India-Africa Defence Dialogue is being organised during the five-day event.

"We are helping African countries by building their capacity using our defence industry. We are trying to find solutions to drug trafficking, piracy and other such issues in partnership. Overall, our cooperation in the Indian Ocean is being carried out with the Prime Minister's vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR)," he said.

The senior bureaucrat said "Invest for Defence' is being organised for the first time at the DefExpo.

"The aim is for our investors, financial institutions, venture capitals and private equity funds to know about investment opportunities in defence," he said.

Kumar said the 'Bandhan' event at the expo is about signing business agreements.

In the last DefExpo held in Lucknow, 201 agreements were signed. This time, so far 451 agreements have been inked committing Rs 1.50 lakh crore investment, he added.

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