Rajnath Singh Asks US Firms To Conduct Joint R&D To Tap Opportunities Under ‘Make In India’ Initiatives

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Highlights:

  • The defence minister’s urge comes at a time when India is maintaining a balancing act between Russia and US
  • He added that the US companies had not only been a source of foreign direct investment and employment in India, but they also contributed to India’s defence exports
  • The minister also emphasized the need to move from a buyer-seller relationship to one of the partner nations

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh asked American firms to conduct joint research and development, co-production of systems and manufacturing and maintenance of military hardware in the country to ascertain the opportunities under the ‘Make in India, Make for the World’ initiative.

Addressing the American Chamber of Commerce in India, he voiced, “Of late, some US companies have expanded their local presence in partnership with Indian industry to achieve our aim of ‘Make in India, Make for the World’. We believe this is just the beginning. With increasing business, we aspire for increased investment by US companies in India. Making full use of the Industrial Security Agreement (ISA), we need to facilitate collaboration and indigenisation of defence technology and boost the participation of US and Indian companies in each other’s defence supply chains.”

Rajnath Singh’s demand for increased US participation in the Indian defence sector follows amidst New Delhi’s renewed thrust on indigenisation of weapons and systems, reducing military imports and getting a toehold in foreign defence markets. Evidently, the defence minister’s urge comes at a time when India is maintaining a balancing act between Russia and US after the Ukraine war and US’s attempts to wean India away from its dependence on Russian military hardware.

In the address, Singh added that the US companies had not only been a source of foreign direct investment and employment in India, but they also contributed to India’s defence exports. He mentioned that these exports to the US were worth around $2.5 billion during the last five years and account for 35% of the total exports during this period. He noted that the participation of US firms in joint R&D and industrial collaboration with Indian public and private sectors would be crucial for the success of Atmanirbhar Bharat and would boost the bilateral relationship.

The minister also emphasized the need to move from a buyer-seller relationship to one of the partner nations, mentioning that the two countries were poised to leverage each other’s strengths for a bright future. “When seen from the perspective of strategic convergence, India and the US share a commitment to democracy, pluralism and rule of law. We have a growing convergence of strategic interest as both countries seek a resilient, rules-based international order that safeguards sovereignty and territorial integrity, upholds democratic values and promotes peace and prosperity for all,” he remarked.

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