India plans to bring down defence imports by $2 billion by the end of 2022, announced the Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at the Aero India 2021’s Bandhan – partnership signing ceremony.

He said, the idea of cutting down on imports is to encourage domestic manufacture of defence related items. Between 2016 and 2019, 138 proposals worth over $37 billion have been approved for domestic manufacturing and they will pay off now in lower imports.

At Aero India, 128 MoUs were signed, 19 technology transfers (ToTs) finalised, four handing overs, 18 product launches and 32 major announcements were made, in all totalling over 200 proposals.

Singh said, “We realise, appreciate and understand that in a highly specialised and technology driven environment, a collaborative, cooperative and collective approach to defence production and exports is the way forward.”

The Defence Minister further said a large number of initiatives have been taken to facilitate the partnership of major companies from across the world and to become a part of India’s defence industry initiative. It is with this objective that FDI was raised to 74 per cent from 49 per cent in August 2020.

The fountain head of any capability emerges from the robustness of its foundation. And the foundation of our vision rests on three pillars. These are Research and Development, Public and Private Defence Production and Defence Exports, said Singh.

“A robust domestic manufacturing base relates directly to the potential for defence exports. We plan to move from a $11 billion defence base to $25 billion by 2025. Of this, we further intend to create an export component of $5 billion,” he said.

“I am happy to inform the audience that during the period 2015-2020, defence exports grew from ₹2,000 crore to ₹9,000 crore. It is also important to note that a vast majority of our defence exports are being spearheaded by the private sector,” he added.

Talking about the aerospace sector, Rajnath Singh said, “The sector has an important role to play, if we have to reach our targets of domestic defence production of $25 billion and exports of $5 billion by 2025.”

“The Indian aerospace industry, both military and civil, stands uniquely poised today, on the threshold of catapulting itself into the global arena. The aero components sector is set to grow from ₹30,000 crore today to ₹60,000 crore by 2024,” he added.