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India to strengthen outer space capabilities but responsibly: Modi at DefExpo inauguration

At the biennial event in Lucknow, PM Modi said India’s focus is on increasing defence exports to Rs 35,000 crore from Rs 17,000 crore.

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Lucknow: India is strengthening its capabilities in outer space but with responsibility, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Wednesday as he inaugurated the largest-ever defence exhibition in the country with the participation of over 1,000 companies, including 172 foreign firms.

Underlining that his government plans to ‘Make in India’ not just for the country but the world at large, Modi invited foreign firms to make use of India’s technology, favourable policies, FDI security and democracy.

“India is strengthening its capabilities in outer space. India’s interest in space is for welfare and not warfare. India will explore outer space responsibly,” Modi said, while inaugurating the 11th edition of the defence ministry’s biennial event being held in Lucknow.

The DefExpo 2020 showcases a real-sized model of India’s Anti-Satellite Missile (A-SAT) at the display arena.

India had successfully test-fired an anti-satellite missile on 27 March last year, knocking off one of its own satellites 300 km in space, thereby joining a small group of countries — the US, Russia and China — to possess such a capability.

ThePrint had reported on 5 December that India is not planning to carry out a second test of its A-SAT missile, either in lower or higher orbits, even as it continues to improve both the missile and technology. Officials have said in the past that Indian scientists moved towards the A-SAT test after China proved its capabilities in space and conducted the test in 2007 at an altitude of 865 km.

Also read: UP DefExpo gaffe — Turkish helicopter for Pakistan on posters showcasing Make in India

Defence exports target

Speaking about defence manufacturing in India, PM Modi said Indian policy focused only on buying foreign arms in the past. This, he said, resulted in the world’s largest democracy becoming import-dependent.

“…to change this, after 2014 we carried out several policy reforms. Our motto now is ‘Make in India’, for India and the world,” said Modi.

In 2014, India’s defence exports were about Rs 2,000 crore but in the past two years the figure has reached Rs 17,000 crore, said the prime minister. “The aim is to reach defence exports worth $5 billion (Rs 35,000 crore).”

He added, “We have got talent, we have technology, we have got democracy, favourable policy and FDI security.”

A number of MoUs are set to be signed during the defence exhibition from 5-9 February, where defence ministers from about 40 countries are participating.

A large delegation from China that was to attend the exhibition had to withdraw after India cancelled all visas to incoming Chinese people due to the coronovirus threat.

Spread over 43,021 sq. mts, DefExpo 2020 is the largest ever to be held in the country. It is being held in Lucknow for the first time.

Also read: 15th Finance Commission to set up expert panel to look at roll-on fund, cess for defence


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