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PM to inaugurate DefExpo 2018 in Chennai tomorrow

PM to inaugurate DefExpo 2018 in Chennai tomorrowā€¯

The four-day DefExpo India, whose theme is "Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub" is a biennial exercise aimed at establishing Brand India and highlighting the manufacturing capabilities of the country's public and private sectors. "You would have also seen that we have brought the process to a successful conclusion with a contract that will provide a boost to defence manufacturing in India", the Prime Minister told his audience of global delegates, foreign industry captains and domestic manufacturers.

This is PM's first ever visit to a defence expo.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday recalled how India's defence preparedness was hampered by policy paralysis and how there was a shortage of bullet-proof jackets and fighter aircraft.

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Formally inaugurating IDEX (Innovation for Defence Excellence) on the sidelines of DefExpo 2018 at Tamil Nadu's Thiruvidanthai, near Chennai, Mr Modi added that the country had seen the damage caused by the "laziness, incompetence or perhaps some hidden amotives" of the previous government.

After inaugurating the DefExpo 2018 at Chennai, the PM also said his government has also initiated the process to buy 114 Make in India fighter planes under a new project which has again been attacked by the Congress president as a possible future scam. During his address The Prime Minister hailed defence ministry for its efforts. India is promoting itself as a defence manufacture and trying to change its image from defence importer to defence manufacturer.

Modi also referred to the Indian Air Force's long-awaited request for information (RFI) issued last week to global vendors for the procurement of 110 single-engine and twin engine fighters under the Defence Procurement Procedure of 2016 to facilitate indigenous military hardware manufacturing. "For this, we are ready to take all necessary measures to equip our Armed Forces, including through the establishment of a strategically independent defence industrial complex", said PM Modi.

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"We know that a lot needs to be done, and many pieces of this puzzle need to fit together", the prime minister said. "We have also established a Defence Investors Cell to assist and hand-hold investors involved in defence production", he said. Under the scheme, defence innovation hubs will be set up throughout the country to provide necessary incubation and infrastructure support to the start-ups in the defence area. According to him, NDA Government introduced the FDA which will bring fruitful results for the development of Indian defence industry in coming years.

Imperative to Make in India and Make for India is more than ever before, says PM Modi, while adding that government had increased FDI in defence to 49 per cent. "On defence manufacturing licenses, on defence offsets, on defence exports clearances, on Foreign Direct Investment in defence manufacturing, and on reforming our defence procurement, we have taken many steps, " he told the gathering.

Modi said the total number of defence export permissions granted stood at 118 with a total value of $577 million in May 2014. "They are doing it, they are buying India-made products, but that may not be as much as you or me want", she said.

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