Moving towards the target of India becoming net exporter of defence hardware in the future, Indian public and private sector companies on Friday signed more than 200 partnerships or launched defence products with foreign military hardware manufacturers on the third day of the ongoing Defence Expo (DefExpo) 2020 in Lucknow.
These pacts involved signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Transfer of Technology (ToTs) and product launches at a ceremony tilted ‘Bandhan’, making it the most successful such event to be held in India.
Aimed at forging and renewing partnerships for innovative collaboration and transformation of the defence manufacturing in India, these partnerships were signed by the representatives of defence public sector undertakings (DPSU), Indian private defence companies and foreign companies in the presence of defence minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath.
Singh described the signing of these MoUs as a step in the direction to achieving Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s $5 billion defence exports target in the next 5 years.
He noted that DPSUs and the Indian defence private industry were better placed today to lead India as the emerging R&D hub of the world, leveraging the ‘sharp’ minds of Indian youth.
“The liberalised licensing regime brought out by the government would surely attract large investments by both Indian and global companies,” he said and exuded confidence that UP would emerge as a defence manufacturing hub.
The ceremony witnessed more than 13 product launches, 124 MoUs between DPSUs, private and global defence manufacturing companies.
UP government signed 23 of the MoUs inked today. Adityanath said these partnerships envisaged investment of Rs 50,000 crore in the UP Defence Corridor, and generate 300,000 job opportunities.
Meanwhile, the CM announced that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) would soon supply Dornier 19-seater civilian aircraft to UP government.
Defence secretary Ajay Kumar said DefExpo 2020 would be remembered for many firsts – including for the signing of largest number of MoUs, ToTs and product launches.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chairman Sateesh Reddy said it was DRDO’s responsibility to ensure that UP Defence Corridor flourished, hence the Organisation had signed a technological partnership agreement with the state government, and was imparting skill training, hand holding and providing guidance.
He informed a collaboration cell was already setup in the state to facilitate the process, while an R&D centre would be setup in UP to act as a catalyst with respect to defence development.
Meanwhile, a major announcement in the form of issuing the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) certificate of Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) was issued to HAL.
The LUH is designed and developed as a replacement for Cheetah & Chetak helicopters, which are currently being operated by Indian armed forces. LUH is a new generation helicopter in the 3-Ton class incorporating the state-of-the-art technology features.