CHENNAI: Criticising the previous UPA government over hampering defence preparedness through “Policy Paralysis”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today at India’s primary defence exhibition, the DefExpo 2018 being held here, also said that it is the NDA regime which is meeting the critical requirements of the defence forces such as fighter aircraft and will not spend 10 years on it.

Attending his first DefExpo, he also stated that the government is taking forward the indigenous defence manufacturing capabilities and is “committed” to build a defence industrial complex. India is also looking at the future as well, as he added that emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics which are the most important determinants for any defence force will be utilised.

Modi while addressing the DefExpo said, “There was a time when the critical issue of defence preparedness was hampered by policy paralysis. We have seen the damage such laziness, incompetence or perhaps some hidden motives, can cause to the nation. Not now, not anymore, never again,” he said.

He added, “You would also recall the long-drawn process of procurement of fighter aircraft that never reached any conclusion. We have not only taken the bold action to meet our immediate critical requirements, but have also initiated a new process to procure 110 fighter aircraft.”

The PM also raised a similar issue with bulletproof jackets. “You would have seen how the issue of providing bullet proof jackets to Indian soldiers was kept hanging for years. You would have also seen that we have brought the process to a successful conclusion with a contract that will provide a boost to defence manufacturing in India.”

Earlier this week, the army had said that a major contract for the procurement of 1.86 lakh bullet proof jackets has been signed, meeting its impending requirements. The contract worth Rs 639 crore has been given to an Indian firm, SMPP Private Limited.

Taking forward the Make in India in defence initiative, Modi also said that the commitment to protecting India’s territories is strong and for this steps will be taken to equip the armed forces, including setting up a strategic defence industrial complex. “I am aware that we need to do a lot more and we are committed to build a defence industrial complex that has room for everyone, including the public and private sector and foreign firms,” he said.

He also said that steps have been taken to encourage innovation. “Today we launched the IDEX (innovations for defence excellence), which will setup a defence innovation hub throughout the country,” he said.

Consultations with all stakeholders will also be . “We will undertake consultation with all stakeholders, including Indian and foreign firms. This is not only to discuss, but to draw the right intention. Our goal is not merely to tinker but to transform. We want to move fast, but not take shortcuts.”