India is set to move faster in all fields as the NDA government has brought the country out of policy paralysis caused by the previous Congress government, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi while formally inaugurating the 10th edition of the defence expo – DefExpo 2018 – at Thiruvidandai near Chennai on Thursday.
“There was a time when, like many other aspects of governance, the critical issue of defence preparedness was also hampered by policy paralysis. We have seen how laziness, incompetence and perhaps some hidden motives can cause damage to the nation,” said the Prime Minister.
He said such paralysis would not happen anymore. “Issues that should have been long addressed by previous governments are being resolved now. You would have seen how the requirement of providing bullet proof jackets to Indian Army soldiers was kept hanging for years,” said Modi.
“You would also recall the long-drawn process of procurement of fighter aircraft that never reached any conclusion. We have not only taken bold action to meet our immediate critical requirements, but have also initiated a new process to procure 110 fighter aircraft. We do not want to spend 10 years in discussions without any tangible outcomes,” he said.
Promising honesty and transparency in all the dealings, the Prime Minister said, “We will work with you with a sense of mission to keep our defence forces equipped with state-of-the-art systems, and to create the necessary domestic manufacturing ecosystem to achieve this.”
Earlier, the Prime Minister launched IDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence), a portal for startups to deal with the defence production department. “Today, we launched the ‘Innovation for Defence Excellence’ scheme. It will set up defence innovation hubs throughout the country to provide necessary incubation and infrastructure support to the startups in defence area,” said Modi.
He said the government would encourage private venture capital into the defence sector, especially for startups.
“New and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics are perhaps the most important determinants/of defensive and offensive capabilities for any defence force in the future. India, with its leadership in information technology domain, would strive to use this technology tilt to its advantage,” he said.
Quoting former President APJ Abdul Kalam, the Prime Minister said, Kalam asked us to dream, dream and dream. Our dream is to develop the ecosystem to foster an environment of new and creative entrepreneurship in defence manufacturing sector.”
Modi said in the coming weeks the government would undertake extensive consultations with all stakeholders, including both Indian and foreign companies, about our defence production and defence procurement policy space.
“I call upon all of you to actively participate in this exercise. Our aim is not just to discuss, but to draw the right lessons. Our intention is not to lecture, but to listen. Our goal is not merely to tinker, but to transform,” Modi said.>