Congress hampered India's defence preparedness, said PM Modi in Chennai

Stressing on his point about policy paralysis during the previous regimes, PM highlighted the issue of the delay in providing bullet proof jackets to army soldiers,"The issue of providingbullet-prooff jackets to Indian soldiers was kept hanging for years. More than 40 countries have sent their official delegations as well", PM Modi said.

Hitting back at the corruption allegations levelled by Rahul Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has attacked the Congress chief, saying it had hampered the defence preparedness while his government had taken "bold decisions" to meet critical requirements referring to the Rs 60,000 crore Rafale plane deal.

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. Govt is also setting up two defence industrial corridors - one in Tamil Nadu, and another in Uttar Pradesh. "Not now, not anymore, never again", he said. During his address The Prime Minister hailed defence ministry for its efforts.

"We are conscious that defence manufacturing is unique in terms of government involvement".

The Air Force has also launched a campaign for buying 114 fighter aircraft in India under which global bidders would be offering their planes for production in India.

"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", he said.

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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.

He said to ease the process, his government took many steps and "made a humble beginning on defence manufacturing licenses, offsets, exports clearances, Foreign Direct Investment and on reforming India's defence procurement". The defence procurement procedure has also been revised by de-notifying items made exclusively by ordnance factories so that the private sector, especially the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), can enter this space. According to him, NDA Government introduced the FDA which will bring fruitful results for the development of Indian defence industry in coming years. "It will set up Defence Innovation Hubs throughout the country to provide necessary incubation and infrastructure support to the start-ups in the defence sector", PM Modi said. "In addition, we have launched the "Innovation for Defence Excellence" scheme". "In less than four years, we have issued 794 more export permissions, for a total value of over $1.3 billion", he said.

The theme of this year's DefExpo is, "India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub".

In 2014 Defence export permissions stood at 118 worth about 577 million USA dollars.

US Commerce Minister Patrick Santillo said, "This is a dynamic period in our bilateral relationship as the US and India develop the major defence partner relationship and increase cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region".

  • Megan Austin