Modernization of Indian armed forces, a priority, says Rajnath Singh

HYDERABAD Aug 3 (PTI): Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday that the government's priority is to modernise the armed forces and meet all their needs only through indigenisation.

"I would like to reiterate that the modernisation of the armed forces is our priority. We would like to fulfil every requirement of the army through indigenization only," he said.

Singh said there is a need to promote indigenous production to increase defence capability and preparedness.

Defence equipment would be imported only if the situation demanded that it was important and was not being manufactured in the country, he said.

Speaking at the golden jubilee celebrations of defence PSU Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), he said the defence sector would play a key role in making the country a USD 5 trillion economy through Foreign Direct Investment and offset investment in manufacturing.

The government, he said, would like to bring defence exports to a respectable level by 2025, for which BDL needed to play an important role.

Singh said the countrys defence architecture is grounded on the three principled formula of restraint, balance and destruction "in the face of hatred" and works for peace and stability at the regional, continental and global levels.

He said the missile development programme is not intended to show the country's aggression, unlike its neighbour.

"You see our neighbour. There,the missiles are named only after invaders...Babur, Gori, Ghaznavi. The names are given so Pakistan can go in for aggressive posturing," he said.

"The names of our missiles, including Prithvi, Akash, Agni, Nag, Trishul,BRAHMOS, inspire balance in creation, restraint and destruction when necessary," he said.

On issues like terrorism, he said the country has been successful in making the world understand that nothing short of zero tolerance was acceptable.

"It's results have begun to show. Those people who helped terrorism flourish or gave support indirectly, they also want to come into the democratic system. Weapon power also had a major contribution in this," he said.

The defence minister said the work of organisations like DRDO,ISRO and BDL had enhanced India's respect the world over.

Singh appreciated the stellar role played by BDL in the country's defence production capabilities and assured the PSU full support from the government.

He said that in view of the countrys needs and priorities, the government has ensured necessary coordination in defence, internal security, foreign, science and technology policies with the economic policy to reduce as early as possible the gap between developed and developing countries.

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