Bengaluru, Feb 3 (IANS) India plans to spend 130 billion dollars on military modernisation in the next 7-8 years to strengthen its security apparatus, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Wednesday.Speaking at the 'Aero India' show here, the Minister said: "We have taken many steps to strengthen our security apparatus recently. Domestic manufacturing of bigger and complex defence platforms has now become the focus of our policy under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. We plan to spend 130 billion dollars on military modernisation."To achieve the twin goals of self-reliance and exports, he said, a target has been set to achieve a turnover of Rs 1,75,000 crore, including exports worth Rs 35,000 crore in aerospace and defence goods and services by 2024.He pointed out that India holds the potential to become a reliable supplier of defence equipment to many friendly nations. "We have a strong and diversified Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises sector, having more than 5,000 active units," the Minister said.Talking about 'Aero India', he said that India today offers a unique opportunity in defence and aerospace manufacturing. "This opportunity comes as a 'sangam' or confluence of rising demand, greater innovation, conducive policies and maturing ecosystem in defence and aerospace manufacturing sector," he said.The Minister said that in aviation sector, the air show and aviation exhibition is one of the brightest galaxies which offers a wide variety of options, solutions, partnerships and, most importantly, opportunities.Singh expressed gratitude to the Defence Ministers of Maldives, Ukraine, Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Comoros and Madagascar, who were present on the occasion, and others who joined in virtually.About 540 exhibitors, including 80 foreign companies, defence ministers and delegates, services chiefs and officials from more than 55 nations are participating in the event. "It reflects the growing optimism of the global community," he said.In order to maximise the reach and participation, the event was planned in a hybrid format with a concurrent virtual exhibition that will integrate seminars, B2B interactions and others.He said that 2020 was a challenging year for the entire world and saw adverse impact on the lives and livelihood of the people as well as industrial growth and economy of many countries.The Minister said that despite the constraints caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, large participation was witnessed in this year's air show.Singh also pointed that the existing supply chains, developed by aerospace and engineering firms, an investor-friendly government, with simplified procedures and fast-track business approvals through single-window mechanism combine to make Karnataka a very attractive destination for the industry.
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