Pune: Defence minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday batted for making India a defence manufacturing hub, saying it is essential to deal with various security challenges like insurgency effectively.
No country can secure itself by depending on others for its defence supplies, the minister said amid steps by the government to bring in private players in the sector.
“We cannot change our neighbours. And our neighbourhood has thrown up security challenges. We are facing insurgency and war for the last 70 years. Therefore, India needs to become an important defence manufacturing hub," he said at the 9th convocation of the Defence Institute of Advance Technology (DIAT).
“If the economy requires us to become a manufacturing hub, then security requires us to become a hub for defence manufacturing. This is the area where the country will have to use the vast resources it possesses. We will have to use the large number of academic institutions we have for training minds and cover up the critical gap that still exists," Jaitley said.
The country has institutions like IITs, DRDO labs and a large number of private institutes which can help it achieve the goal, the minister said.
In a veiled attack on the previous UPA government, he said the “conservative policies" of the past have hindered progress in the field of defence manufacturing. “But the new India is a more confident India, it is not the defensive India. It is India, which is willing to globally integrate, share knowledge, get knowledge from outside," he said.
The government has broken away from the restrictive past to achieve the goal of self-reliance in defence, he said. A total of 134 graduating students of the DIAT, an autonomous organisation under the DRDO, were awarded degrees on the occasion.