The annual defence production is expected to touch ₹3 lakh crore from ₹16,000 crore now, and defence exports ₹50,000 crore by 2028-29, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday while insisting that the new-found thrust is a result of the government’s focus on long-term gains to make India a developed nation by 2047.

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Ahead of nation going to polls, Singh enumerated the reforms undertaken in the defence sector in the last few years for long-term gains, including creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff and setting up of the Department of Military Affairs for enhancing jointness, synergy and smooth coordination among the three services. Now, the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force no longer operate in silos, which will ensure enhanced cooperation among them in times of crises, he said as per the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

“Earlier, India was known to be an arms importer. But today, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, we have come out of our comfort zone and found a place in the list of top-25 arms exporter nations. Seven-eight years ago, defence exports did not even touch ₹1,000 crore. Today, it has touched ₹16,000 crore. By 2028-29, annual defence production is expected to touch ₹3 lakh crore and defence exports ₹50,000 crore,” Rajnath Singh was quoted as having said by the MoD on Saturday.

Capital acquisition

Singh informed that in the Financial Year 2023-24, capital acquisition worth more than ₹4,35,000 crore has been given in-principle approval till now. The MoD was allocated ₹6.21 lakh crore in the Union Budget 2024-25, which is the highest among the Ministries, he stated.

Elaborating on the major steps taken in the field of defence manufacturing, Singh said the MoD notified five positive indigenisation lists of the services, comprising over 500 items, and four other lists, with over 4,600 items for DPSUs, to ensure that the soldiers use Made-in-India weapons and platforms. He also referred to the decision to earmark 75 per cent of the capital acquisition budget for procurement from local companies to give a boost to the indigenous industry.

The Minster referred to the recent meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council, in which he said effective steps were taken to promote start-ups. For procurement from start-ups, costing, payment terms, eligibility etc have been liberalised, the Minister said to point out that besides big companies the government was also supporting young innovators and MSMEs.

He said the government overlooked views of some people who felt that indigenous weapons won’t be world class and went ahead with the belief in the capabilities of the domestic industry and that they can consistently improve and deliver state-of-the-art products. He also spoke of the Agnipath scheme, which aims to make the country’s military among the strongest in the world.