New Delhi, Sep 6 (IANS) Defence minister Rajnath Singh invited South Korean defence firms to invest in manufacturing small items, which go into main weapons system, in India on the last day of his three-day visit to the nation on Friday.
Singh attended a CEOs forum of defence honchos from India and South Korea on Friday where he spoke about investment opportunities available for defence manufacturing in India.
“I invite Korean industry to explore feasibility of local production of items, parts which go in to integration of main weapon system, which Indian DPSUs are importing. We can jointly form a Task Force which identifies such items which are economically viable and produced in India,” said Singh.
The invitation to South Korean arms manufacturers for investing in India has been extended with the objective to reduce India’s overall defence import bill. Singh assured South African defence honchos that India will extend them all help and cooperation to set up these industries.
India’s Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar and Secretary (Defence Production) Subhash Chandra have accompanied Singh on the trip. The senior government officials and industry leaders of both nations also held a Business-to-Government (B2G) meeting in which they explained various investment opportunities available in defence corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu as well as the upcoming Defence Expo in Lucknow in 2020.
The Indian delegation promised attractive discounts to Korean firms that participate in the upcoming Defence Expo.
“We are progressing towards becoming a manufacturing hub of defence equipment and investors can use India as a spring board to export defence equipment manufactured in India to various friendly countries in South East Asia, Middle Asia, Middle East Asia, South Asia and Africa,a Singh further said.
In the financial year 2018-19, defence production in India was worth Rs 80, 000 crore. Out of this, private sector defence firms accounted for Rs 16,000 crore. For the financial year 2019-20, the ministry has set a target of Rs 90,000 crore in defence production.
“India offers tremendous business opportunity to Korean defence industries in India with liberalised licensing regime, attractive FDI provisions, strong and skilled industrial work force, single window clearances and establishment of Defence Investor Cell to facilitate investors and various other industry friendly initiatives”, said Singh.
India and South Korea have formulated a forward-looking roadmap to enhance bilateral defence industry co-operation. The roadmap has listed a number of proposed areas of co-operation in sectors of land, aero and naval systems; co-operation in research and development; and collaboration in testing, certification and quality assurance.
Singh also took note of the MoU that is being entered into to facilitate participation of large original equipment manufacturers, MSMEs and Korean industries in various defence exhibitions in India.
Singh took the opportunity to express his happiness on ISRO’s Chandrayan 2 Mission which is scheduled to land on the Moon on Friday night. Earlier this week, Singh had visited Japan as part of his two-nation official trip to East Asia.