Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday urged the Indian defence industry to make new investments and lay more emphasis on research and development to scale new heights. Addressing the 117th annual session of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHD-CCI) held here, he said the government has played the role of an incubator, catalyst, consumer and facilitator for the private industry.

"Make new investments, put more emphasis on research and development, and harness its full potential to take the Indian defence industry to new heights. This effort of yours will be very important not only for the defence industry, but also for the overall growth of the country," Singh was quoted as saying in a statement.

He said the Indian defence sector offers immense potential and even foreign companies see opportunities.

Singh said the Indian defence industry is progressing steadily in partnership with the private sector.

"There was either no way for the private sector in the past to enter the defence sector, and even if there was some scope, the industry was not ready to set foot in the defence sector due to various reasons," he was quoted as saying in the statement.

These reasons were "lack of political will, appropriate policy to incentivise their entry, high investment and long gestation period," he claimed.

The government has removed these bottlenecks and played the role of an incubator, catalyst, consumer and facilitator in the case of private industry.

Several steps have been taken by the Ministry of Defence, under the 'Make in India' and 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' initiatives to change the old traditions and to create a manufacturing climate in which the public and private sectors could participate, Singh said.

The Ministry of Defence has issued three positive indigenisation lists of 309 items which will be procured from domestic vendors according to the norms. Three lists have also been issued by Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), in which more than 3,700 are line replacement units, sub-systems and other components, he said.

In addition, an iDEX initiative has been launched to encourage innovators and start-ups.

The policy decision has been taken to increase the limit of foreign direct investment to 74 per cent by the automatic route, and to 100 per cent by the government route in special cases, he said.

The government has taken several steps such as introduction of defence industrial corridors -- two industrial corridors have been set up each in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, and corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board, which creates a win-win situation for armed forces, industry, start-ups and innovators, he added.

"The magnitude of all these efforts is beginning to come before us. Today, we are not only producing to meet our own defence needs but also fulfilling the defence needs of many other countries under 'Make for the World'. It is a matter of great happiness that defence exports have increased manifold from what we used to have, and have reached Rs 13,000 crore last year.

"We used to be counted as one of the biggest arms importers in the world until now. But today, we are one of the top 25 arms exporting countries. We have targeted a turnover of Rs 1.75 lakh crore in defence manufacturing, including Rs 35,000 crore from exports in aerospace, and defence goods and services by 2025." he said.