Bangalore: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said that Aero India showcased to the world the 'New Defence Sector' of 'New India'.

Addressing the gathering at the Bandhan ceremony of 14th Aero India in Bengaluru, Singh expressed satisfaction that the event paved the new way to strengthen the Indian defence industry, terming it as the beginning of a new era of 'Atmanirbharta'.

Singh said a record 75 per cent (approx Rs 1 lakh crore) of the defence capital procurement budget has been earmarked for the domestic industry in Financial Year (FY) 2023-24, up from 68 per cent in 2022-23.

In FY 2023-24, Singh said the Ministry of Defence (MoD) allocated a total Budget of Rs 5.94 lakh crore, which is 13.18 per cent of the total budget (Rs 45.03 lakh crore). Capital outlay pertaining to modernisation and infrastructure development has been increased to Rs 1.63 lakh crore.

The minister termed the decision as an unprecedented step taken by the government to further strengthen the defence sector and minimise import dependency.

"If you take one step, the government promises to take ten steps forward. You spoke of land to run on the path of development. We are providing you full sky. Earmarking three-fourth of the capital procurement budget for the local industry is a step in that direction," he said.

Singh exuded confidence that with this step, the Indian industry will come forward with more enthusiasm and contribute to making the defence sector more powerful and prosperous. He was of the view that a strong and self-reliant defence industry not only strengthens the security system of the country but also bolsters the economy.

He highlighted that, in the last few years, a domestic industry-friendly environment has been created in the country providing a runway for the local companies to grow and ensure holistic development of the nation while catering to the security needs of the friendly countries.

The Bandhan ceremony also witnessed the forging of 266 partnerships including 201 MoUs, 53 major announcements, nine product launches and three Transfers of Technology, worth around Rs 80,000 crore.

Rajnath Singh described Karnataka as one of those historical states which have been consistently contributing to the country's economic progress.

He stated that there could not be a better place than Karnataka to organise Aero India as the state has attracted local as well as international industries with its robust R&D manufacturing ecosystem.