Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the gathering during the NIIO Seminar in Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday addressed the Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) seminar 'Swavlamban' and hailed 'Atmanirbharta' and slammed the nation for relying on others. He also unveiled the 'SPRINT Challenges' aimed at giving a boost to the usage of indigenous technology in the Indian Navy.

While addressing the seminar in Delhi, PM Modi said national defence is no longer limited to borders but has a much broader ambit and the armed forces and other stakeholders must work together to bolster the country's military capabilities.

He said as India establishes itself on the global stage, there have been constant attacks on it through misinformation and disinformation campaigns.

“We developed the habit of being dependent on foreign countries for even the simplest products. Like drug addicts, we were addicted to the products imported from abroad. To change this mindset, we worked on a mission mode after 2014, after learning from the approach of the past, to create a new ecosystem of defence with the help of ‘Sabka Prayas’."

"'Atmanirbharta' in defence is very crucial for the India of 21st century... Creating 75 indigenous techs for the Navy by Aug 15 next year is the first step; the goal should be to take India's defence to unprecedented heights by the time we celebrate 100yrs of independence, " he added.

"In the last eight years, we have not only increased the defence budget, but we have also ensured that it is useful in the development of the defence manufacturing ecosystem in India itself," he said.

"Today, a large part of the budget earmarked for the purchase of defence equipment is being spent on procurement from Indian companies," he said. "In just the short span of the last 4-5 years, our Defence imports have decreased by around 21%... We are moving forward from being a defence importer to becoming a defence exported," PM said.

Meanwhile, the two-day Seminar (18-19 July) will provide a platform for leaders from Industry, Academia, Services and Government to come together on a common platform to ideate and come up with recommendations for the Defence Sector.