Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday made a clarion call for French companies to make India their base for the production of defence equipment, not only for India's large market but also for export to other countries.
At the conclusion of his three-day visit to France, the minister addressed CEOs of leading French defence industries and called on them to collaborate in modernising India's shipyards and defence platforms through the infusion of technology.
"We have undertaken significant economic reforms to improve the ease of doing business and opening up the economy for investments. Our government under the leadership of our Prime Minister Modi has opened up defence sector manufacturing to a large extent under the 'Make in India's initiative'," he said.
Singh underlined the significance of the implementation of a single Goods and Services Tax across India, the biggest tax reform since its independence.
"We have recently reduced our corporate tax significantly. For Make in India' in defence if there is need for further tax rationalisation, it may be considered suitably," he said.
The minister applauded the French companies for regularly participating in DefExpos organised in India with great energy and enthusiasm. He extended a special invitation to French firms to participate in DefExpo 2020, which will be held in Lucknow from February 05 to 08 next year.
"Lucknow happens to be a city of rich culture and heritage and the French people are known to be highly appreciative of great cultures. Lucknow is the capital of Uttar Pradesh, which is also a land of new opportunities, he said.
During the deliberations with the CEOs, the minister highlighted India's substantial requirement of aero engines both in civil and military domains. He requested French OEMs to consider exploring the development of an aero engine complex on a government-to-government basis, highlighting that French companies could leverage from advantages in India such as low wages and availability of technical manpower.
India's Ambassador to France, Vinay Kwatra, gave the welcome address and Additional Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Barun Mitra gave a presentation on DefExpo 2020. Dr Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary, also addressed the CEOs.