Ready to deal with invisible enemies of India: Rajnath Singh

Vikash Aiyappa

New Delhi, May 12: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said his ministry is committed to destroying all the enemies of the nation including those visible on the borders or invisible ones like the coronavirus.

Speaking at an online conference organised to mark National Technology Day, Singh also said India must become self-reliant in military manufacturing and that the government was supporting the domestic defence industry by coming out with a policy framework.

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"I want to assure my countrymen that the Ministry of Defence is committed to destroying all the enemies of the nation -- whether they are visible enemies on the borders or invisible enemies like the coronavirus," he said.

The National Technology Day is observed on May 11 to commemorate the nuclear tests India conducted in Pokhran on this day in 1998 that symbolised achievement of home-grown technologies in critical areas.

"The Defence Research and Development Organisation has developed more than 50 products in the last three-four months like bio-suit, sanitiser dispenser, PPE kits, etc through its continuous efforts to contribute to the fight against COVID-19," he said.

"The indomitable spirit of our defence industry has increased the opportunity for mass production of these high-quality products in record time," Singh added.

The defence minister said the government has set new targets and formulated the "right" policy framework to achieve indigenisation in defence production.

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"We always have to keep in mind that there is no alternative to indigenous technology and indigenous manufacture. We will be truly self-reliant only when India succeeds in becoming a net exporter instead of a net importer of technology," he said.

At present, India is one of the top importers of military hardware globally.

According to a latest report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a leading think-tank on military spending, India's defence expenditure stood at USD 71.1 billion in 2019, which is third highest after the US and China.

In 2017, the government came up with an ambitious policy under which select private firms were to be roped in to build key military platforms like submarines and fighter jets in India in partnership with global defence majors.

"Our journey is long, but the important thing is that we have worked on it. We will work continuously to establish India as a defence manufacturing nation," Singh said.

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