New Delhi. In keeping with the Government’s policy of modernizing the defence sector, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh sought collaboration of French companies to modernize India’s shipyards and defence platforms by infusion of technology and asked them to make India their base for production of defence equipment.
Addressing Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of French Defence Industries in Paris where he was on a two-day visit to take delivery of the first of the Rafale fighter aircraft, he said India and France intend to explore ways to strengthen their defence industrial partnership.
He asked them to make India its base for production of defence equipment not only for India’s large market but also for export to other countries.
“We have undertaken significant economic reforms to improve the ease of doing business and opening up the economy for investments. Our Government under the leadership of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has opened up defence sector manufacturing to a large extent under the ‘Make in India’ initiative”, he said.
Singh underlined the significance of implementation of a single Goods and Services Tax across India, the biggest tax reform since its independence. “We have recently reduced our corporate tax significantly. For ‘Make in India’ in Defence if there is need for further tax rationalisation, it may be considered suitably”, he said.
The Minister applauded the French companies for regularly participating in DefExpos organised in India with great energy and enthusiasm. He extended a special invitation to French firms to participate in DefExpo, which will be held in Lucknow from February five to eight, 2020. “Lucknow happens to be a city of rich culture and heritage and the French people are known to be highly appreciative of great cultures. Lucknow is the capital of Uttar Pradesh which is also a land of new opportunities”, he added.
Singh highlighted India’s substantial requirement of Aero engines both in civil and military domains. He requested French OEMs to consider exploring development of an Aero engine complex on government -to- government basis saying French companies could leverage from advantages in India such as low wages and availability of technical manpower.
India’s Ambassador to France Vinay Kwatra gave the welcome address. Additional Secretary, Ministry of Defence Barun Mitra also gave a presentation on DefExpo 2020. Dr Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary also addressed the CEOs.