Defence Minister Nirmala Seetharaman has asked the Tamil Nadu government to submit a futuristic proposal before Global Investors Meet in September to make the state as one of the best defence hub of the country.
Speaking during an interactive session organised by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry in India, the minister said that the state should ‘think big’ by involving stake holders from the industry, defence and the academia and the focus would be for the next 50 years.
She was reacting to the plea by Tamil Nadu Industries Minister M C Sampath to set up a Defence Aero Park in Coimbatore to make the state a hub for defence production.
Seetharaman said that the state has to work out a futuristic proposal as what it is going to do for the next 50 years as the technology is becoming obsolete within a year.
The focus could be on Artificial Intelligence or Robotics which will ease the burden from our soldiers. “Tamil Nadu should look at futuristic segment and the Centre will be with you,” she said.
“You should lift yourselves on what you want to do not today but for the next 50 years. You need to break the glass ceiling,” she said.
Defending the Rafale deal, Seetharam said that for the last 10 years, the government in power then did nothing and the squadron strength was reduced. “We have to provide answer to our forces,” she said.
She also justified for going for only 36 Rafale jets. “You can’t manufacture all 126 jets at one. We also are getting aircraft from the HAL,” she said.
The minister said that the focus of the government is to strengthen the strategic partnership. “Those who want to manufacture can now supply from india. The import substitution is being done through indigenisation,” she said.
The minister also said that she has asked Defence Research Development Organisation to release from its kitty quite a few of what they have done for commercialisation