Undeterred by the raging controversy over the Rafale fighter jets, the Centre today reiterated its resolve that India will achieve a status of net security provider in the Indian Ocean region by aggressively focusing on higher level of indigenisation especially in the defence and aerospace sector. 

Union Minister of State for Defence Dr Subhash Bhamre said that the ministry has taken key policy steps to position India as an emerging defence manufacturing hub and to be one amongst the five top producers of defence products and achieve export target of Rs 35,000 crore by 2025.

Bhamare said defence spending is consistently growing and is reaching levels of Rs 3 lakh crore. He informed that in last about one month alone the Defence Acquisition Council has approved procurement of equipment and systems totalling about Rs 60,000 crore with most of these being planned from within the country. The minister was speaking at the inaugural session of Engineers Conclave 2018 jointly organised by L&T and the Indian National Academy of Engineering.

Bhamre said opportunities in the defence and aerospace sector are immense especially for the Indian companies. "Several measures such as streamlining of defence offset guidelines and simplification of buy and make Indian procedure have been taken to promote the indigenisation of defence equipment by harnessing the capabilities of the public and private sector," he added.

Bhamre informed that defence investor cell has been set up to facilitate investments in the defence sector. MSMES from India can contribute to global supply chain though the larger industries will have to lead the change in collaboration with partners from friendly foreign countries, he viewed. "It is imperative that all the opportunities that come through FDI and offset efforts by Buy Global scheme should be taken advantage of by the MSMEs," he opined.

Department of Defence Production secretary Dr Ajay Kumar said exports offer huge opportunities which need to be tapped. "We have to start innovating and developing technologies. Decentralisation of innovation has huge opportunities to leapfrog," he said.

L&T CEO and MD SN Subrahmanyan said the company is pursuing Make In India for last 80 years. "Make in India is not new to L&T which has implemented a slew of projects in the defence sector," he added.