Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday flagged off projects envisaging a total investment of ₹3,100 crore by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Defence Public Sector Undertakings and the private sector in the Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor.
Attributing the fructification of the defence corridor to the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to develop the State and the cooperation of the State government, the Union Minister called for the setting up of a committee by the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) to facilitate further investment in the defence corridor through constant interaction with officials and to liaise with the manufacturers of defence products on behalf of outsourcing industries.
Ms. Sitharaman assured the Defence Ministry’s support for the conversion of the offset obligation of foreign companies exporting defence products to India into substantial investments in the defence corridor. She urged the outsourcing industries to scale up their capabilities to fulfil the quality parameters for defence products.
Seeking to allay the fears of defence PSUs, Ms. Sitharaman assured that there would be no retrenchment in such PSUs.
The Defence Minister also launched the CODISSIA (Coimbatore District Small Scale Industries Association) Defence Innovation and Incubation Centre to help MSMEs, start-ups and existing industries contribute significantly towards defence indigenisation.
Industries Minister M.C. Sampath said Tamil Nadu was a leading State in the manufacture of defence equipment, ships and weapons-grade products.
Mr. Sampath urged the Central government to utilise the surplus land on the premises of the Salem Steel Plant for the defence corridor. Coimbatore and Salem were well suited for the manufacture of fighter aircraft, the Minister said.
He announced that the Aerospace and Defence Industrial Policy had been formulated by the government and would be released on January 23 at the inaugural session of the Global Investors Meet 2019 in Chennai.
Secretary of Defence Production Ajay Kumar said there was enormous scope for scaling up exports of defence products through the Defence Industrial Corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The value of defence exports is poised to go up from ₹4,500 crore during 2017-18 to ₹10,000 crore by March 2019, he said.
A slew of new products of the OFB, HAL and BEL were launched on the occasion.
OFB has promised the largest investment of ₹2,305 crore.