New Delhi, June 26: Union Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik believes that developing a strong domestic capability in defence would lead to an increase in economic growth as well as generating employment. His statement came as he was addressing a two-day digital conference on the defence & aerospace manufacturing sector ‘Defence Conclave 2020, Gujarat’ via video conferencing.
The Minister firmly said that the strong defence capabilities in future would help the nation in protecting the prosperity that has been laid down over the last couple of decades. It will also protect key economic interests like trade routes and safety going forward. In addition to this, he said, "Focus on developing a strong domestic capability in defence would be a great economic growth impetus and also help in skilled job creation in manufacturing, a key need and priority for the nation".
Emphasizing upon that the huge opportunity and clear vision of Central Government for the defence sector today has attracted the attention of not only a few large players but also a large number of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME). It will visualise this unprecedented opportunity as a gateway towards entering into the domain of defence production.
“The slowing down/ saturation of markets in other sectors has also been responsible for directing their interest towards the unexplored defence sector which promises sustained business opportunities. I have been informed that there are already over 8,000 plus MSMEs who serve this strategic sector as tiered vendors to Ordnance Factories and Defence Public Sector companies. There is a need to expand this base by hand-holding more and more MSMEs to participate,” he said.
Highlighting the significance of Gujarat, he added that the stated has emerged with excellent infrastructure facilities that can offer both forward and backward supply chain linkages to the Defence & Aerospace manufacturing sector. The growth drivers for Gujarat include its vast coastline of 1,600 kilometres with well-connected ports In order to capitalise on the emerging opportunities and for providing a core to the defence sector in Gujarat, the state government has come out with Defence & Aerospace policy and defence manufacturing zones have been marked, he said.
The conclave will help to gather high-level government representatives, key industry and academia to discuss. The discussions will lead to deliberate and exchange ideas, viewpoints and knowledge about critical defence offset policies, sector analyses and review choices of technology available globally for the manufacturing and production of indigenous defence systems. The conclave aims to throw light on the positives of the ‘Make in India’ vision led Prime Minister Narendra Modi for strengthening the defence manufacturing.