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Govt spells out defence industry vision: $5 billion exports by 2025, leader in AI, cyberspace

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Rs 1,000 crore startup funds, 3 million jobs in defence ministry’s plan for next seven years.

New Delhi: The government wants the domestic industry to generate 3 million jobs in the next seven years and make India among the top five countries in the world in the aerospace and military sectors, a new policy statement of the defence production department says.

The new draft defence production policy, due to be rolled out this year, sets an ambitious target for the sector in 2025, aiming for an extraordinary $5 billion worth of exports, besides achieving self-reliance in complex systems like fighter aircraft, autonomous weapon systems and small arms.

The policy, which has been put out for comments and suggestions, says that India will aim to achieve a turnover of $26 billion by 2025 and will emerge as a global leader in artificial intelligence and cyberspace technologies.

The department will aim “to achieve a turnover of Rs 1,70,000 crore ($26 bln approx) in defence goods and services by 2025 involving additional investment of nearly Rs 70,000 crore ($10 bln approx) creating employment for nearly 2 to 3 million people,” says the draft policy.

Identifying platforms like land combat vehicles, warships, medium life and utility helicopters, the policy promises a Rs 1,000-crore funding for startups that will develop cutting-edge technologies in the area in 2018-22.

“Hackathons will be conducted on specific problem areas. Department of Defence Production and DRDO will announce challenges for major defence R&D requirements for institutions to participate with well-defined outcomes. An amount of Rs 1000 crores will be allocated for this purpose for period 2018-2022,” it says.

Plans are also afoot to set up a scheme called ‘Innovation for Defence Excellence’ (iDeX) to set up Defence Innovation Hubs across the country. The government will undertake a ‘competency mapping’ of the private defence industry (including MSMEs) and will have a defence investor cell to help them resolve problem areas.

On the role of state-run units, the draft policy says that only niche products will be manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board in the future. “Revenue procurement and outsourcing of services will be progressively made competitive through increased participation of industry…..several non-core items have already been de-notified from the OFB list and ordnance factories are competing with industry for supply of these items,” it says.

On FDI, there are plans to further liberalise rules to have a 74 per cent automatic route for niche technology areas.

The draft policy also promises to set up a Defence Export Organisation jointly with industry to promote export of Indian defence products. As was spelt out in an earlier defence export policy, it says that subject to strategic considerations, domestically manufactured defence products will be promoted through “Govt to Govt agreements and Line of Credit/Funding”.

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  1. Congratulations defence ministry and central government for such a bold plan. India and Indians were capable of doing this from 1970. The dynastic rulers systematically diluted all supporting system to serve the interest of the dynasties at centre and states.

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