Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said defence exports will soon cross ₹20,000 crore, which would be 25 per cent up from ₹16,000 crore achieved in last FY22-23, due to “synergy between the government and the domestic companies”, but advised the military industry to invest more in research and development (R&D) to “keep up the pace with continously-evolving world”.

At the ‘North Tech Symposium 2023’ jointly organised by Indian Army’s Northern Command and the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) at IIT Jammu, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “Whenever you have faced export problems we have tried to resolve them. Owing to this synergy, in the last financial year our domestic production record crossed ₹1 lakh crores and the defence export record crossed Rs 16 thousand crores. Very soon, after a few months, I will be in a position to announce that our that our export has reached ₹20,000 crore...”

Singh, as per a Ministry of Defence statement, was of the view that although R&D is a risky venture as it requires out-of-the-box thinking and sometimes does not give desired results, it still remains one of the basic elements for the development of any country. Capital investment in R&D, therefore, becomes a necessity, he emphasised.

“India is passing through a transitional phase. There is nothing wrong in acquiring a technology through imitation or transfer, but we cannot become a developed nation on these grounds alone. We need to file our own patents, for which a lot of investment in R&D is needed. Capital investment in R&D may reduce today’s profits, but it will prove to be beneficial to the industry and the country in the long term,” the Minister insisted.

He also urged the industry partners to focus on creating a culture that encourages R&D, based on skilled human resources. With government encouraging academia participation, the Minister suggested efforts should be made to connect with the Indian R&D sector, the engineers and scientists who work in top universities, companies, space agencies and scientific research organisations abroad and wish to be a part of India’s growth story. He also recommended hiring of top managers, legal experts and financial experts from within the country and abroad to create a culture conducive of R&D.

Singh also advocated to SIDM to create an internal vigilance mechanism to counter the potential cases of corruption and favouritism. “If any company affiliated with you is indulging in any wrongdoing or passing wrong information, then you should bring it before the government. Such actions will further increase people’s trust in the institutions,” he said.

He underlined that fact that to obtain the services of top talents, there is a need to create a good work culture & positive environment and adopt new HR standards. On the occasion, the Minister gave away SIDM Champion awards 2023 to a number of industry partners, including Bharat Forge Ltd, TATA Advanced Systems Ltd, Larsen & Toubro Ltd and IdeaForge Technology Ltd.