In a clear reference to the Balakot air strike in Pakistan, defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday that the offensive action against terrorists in the neighbourhood spoke volumes about the "reach and lethality" of the Indian armed forces.
"We are all aware that the Indian (Air) Force is a technologically advanced and extremely potent force. The recent offensive strikes against terrorist outfits in our neighbourhood speak volumes about the reach and lethality of the formidable arm of the Indian armed forces," Singh said in his address at a seminar at the IAF Auditorium in New Delhi.
The IAF had conducted air strikes in Pakistan's Balakot in February, days after the Pulwama terror attack on a CRPF convoy in which 40 personnel were killed.
In his address at the seminar on 'Modernisation and Indigenisation plans of the Indian Air Force', Singh announced that the Centre has approved a proposal for use of government test facilities by the private industry to meet the standards required for defence manufacturing.
He said the decision was taken after incorporating the comments of the stakeholders particularly, indigenous defence manufacturers.
"I sincerely hope the synergy between government's efforts and industry participation will help fulfil the long-cherished dream of making India a frontrunner in defence production," Singh said.
The defence minister emphasised the need to progressively reduce dependence on foreign manufacturers and indigenously develop comprehensive capabilities in the defence sector.
He urged the private industry to take advantage of the government's policy initiatives and engage with defence services, Defence Public Sector Undertakings and Ordnance Factory Board to meet indigenisation demands.
He reaffirmed the government's commitment to resolving any outstanding issue in the way of growth and development of indigenous defence industries. He asked the industry to not expect any short-term returns but invest for long-term gains.
"The Indian Air Force, besides the Army and the Navy, needs to keep pace with the advancements in technology for enhancing operational capabilities," he said.
Recalling Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to modernise the armed forces, Singh said efforts are being made to increase the participation of the private sector in 'Make in India' in defence sector.
Singh also said the process of defence offset implementation has been streamlined and one of the major demands of the industry to reinstate the provision of services for discharge of offsets has now been provided.
The Union minister said the defence products list for issuing industrial licenses under Industry Development and Regulation (IDR) Act has been revised, adding, it has reduced the entry barriers for the industry especially the small and medium segment.
"The initial validity of industrial license has been increased from three years to fifteen years with a provision to further extend it by three years on a case-to-case basis," he added.
Singh also referred to the Technology Development Fund Scheme which has been established under the aegis of the Defence Research and Development Organisation to promote self-reliance in defence technology as part of the 'Make in India' initiative.
He said the scheme will encourage participation of public and private industries especially, MSMEs, so as to create an ecosystem to enhance cutting-edge technology capability for defence application.
In his keynote address, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa pitched for in-house manufacturing of defence equipment and called for fine-tuning the capabilities to meet the requirements.
Two books on indigenisation efforts of defence equipment were also released at the event, hosted jointly by the IAF, Confederation of Indian Industry and Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers.