CHENNAI: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said it was important for the country to achieve self-reliance in the defence sector.

"Cultivating innovation within India is imperative to achieve the goal of self-reliance in defence. The young innovators of India will play a big role in the future to indigenise the defence industry " she said in her address to students at IIT Madras here.

She said it was important to restore a lot of strength to the manufacturing sector.

"The priority of our government is to underline the need for India to restore a lot of strength to its manufacturing sector," she said.

Sitharaman said the NDA government had taken steps to streamline the defence procurement policy in 2016 to "simplify the entire process".

She said the focus was on reviving the manufacturing sector so it could contribute a lot more to the country's GDP.

"The services sector is growing rapidly and the focus is on reviving the manufacturing sector. Ultimately, it is the private sector that has to get the manufacturing sector going," she said.

Sitharaman also stressed the need to reinvent and be self-sufficient for India's defence sector needs.

The priority for defence in the government's "Make In India" policy was to stop India's dependence on imports, she said.