Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said India should focus on indigenous defence production to become self-reliant in the area of security
“If India has to be self-reliant in the area of security according to our armed forces needs, we have to make our own weapons,” he said.
Laying the foundation stone for a Rs 5,000 crore greenfield helicopter project of HAL at Biderhalla Kaval in the district, Modi said government was encouraging defence manufacturing driven by the country’s scientists and engineers.
In his address to a large gathering at the event, Modi said Indian Armed Forces were ready to make any sacrifice for the country and they were second to none.
“But the time has come now to ensure that the weapons and equipment they carried and used were also the best in the world,” he said.
Imported weapons were expensive and India spends huge sums of money for the purpose, Modi said.
“We import weapons from other countries to equip our armed forces. India not only spends crores of rupees but also gets relatively not so latest technology,” he said.
Modi said before striking a deal for imports, the Indian government, while entering into an agreement, seeks from the seller nations manufacturing part of the weapons in India.
On the HAL helicopter project, the Prime Minister said: “I have confidence that they (HAL) will produce 600 helicopters in the next 15 years.”
He said the project is expected to bring in huge investments to Tumakuru district and generate 4000 jobs directly or indirectly.
“What is being set up here is no ordinary factory and very soon this district is going to come on the world map,” Modi told the gathering.
According to HAL Chairman and Managing Director Suvarna Raju, the facility gives boost to the country’s aviation capability in the helicopter segment as it will produce three to 10 tonnes class helicopters.
The helicopter facility, for which Karnataka government has allotted 610 acres, will house composite parts manufacturing unit and helicopter transmission manufacturing unit.
HAL will also build an integrated township.
To begin with, HAL expects light utility helicopter to fly out from this facility once the plant gets ready.
Advanced light helicopter Dhruv, multi-role new generation helicopter in 5.5 tonne weight class, indigenously designed and developed by HAL, will also be made at the facility.
Modi hoped that the defence undertaking here would ensure that the first chopper flies out from the unit in 2018.
He also recalled the country had to import grains to feed the population but a clarion call by former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” changed that as farmers got inspired and made India self-sufficient in foodgrains.