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T.N.’s industry background ideal for defence corridor

Nirmala Sitharaman
The defence expo is being held in Tamil Nadu because the State is conducive to developing a manufacturing corridor for equipment required by the Armed forces, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said.

She met with the students from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras and Anna University on Sunday after a visit to Thiruvidanthai ahead of the Defence Expo to be inaugurated later this week by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In a 30-minute interaction with the students, she explained that the country was launching into defence equipment manufacturing as currently 80% of the equipment was being imported. She said it was imperative that innovation be cultivated within the country to achieve the goal of self-reliance in defence.

Since the 1990s, the service sector had grown exponentially with very little support from the government. The focus was on reviving manufacturing with the aim to equip the armed forces with advanced equipment.

‘Policies simplified’

The government had opened up investment and simplified and streamlined the government’s policies in 2016. “We made it a point to identify Indian manufacturers,” she said adding that typically it took a decade to develop a product from research laboratory to launching it.

The interaction with the Minister was organised by the students of the Indian Institute of Technology as part of their extra mural lecture series.

Ms. Sitharaman later took questions from the students, most of which revolved around Defence Research and Development Organisation and whether it had stopped recruiting students and if it was involved actively in R&D activities. Students also wanted to know why Tamil Nadu was chosen to hold the defence expo.

The Minister said recruitment had not been stopped and that the organisation was extremely active. She said some of the new equipment that would be on display at the exposition would be the pride of India when put to use.

Ms. Sitharaman said Tamil Nadu was chosen as it was already a hub of industrial activity and the industry could provide opportunities or employment.


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