Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held a meeting to discuss reforms for India's defence industry that will help it meet the short and long term needs of the armed forces and boost the economy amid the COVID-19 crisis, his office said.
The discussions involved reforming of the ordnance factories, streamlining procurement procedures, focused resource allocation, encouraging research and development, attracting investment in critical defence technologies and promotion of exports, the PM's office said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur along with senior government officials attended the meeting.
PM Modi called for positioning India as a global hub for the defence and aerospace sectors, from design to production, with active participation of public and private sector companies that could make India self-reliant and earn from exports, a government statement said.
He also reviewed the proposed reforms for attracting domestic and foreign investment in defence sector.
"It was discussed that defence expenditure be economized and the savings be channelised for strategic defence capital acquisition," the Prime Minister's Office said.
"Issues relating to defence procurement processes, offset policies, indigenization of spares, transfer of technology, attracting global OEMs to establish manufacturing facilities in India, expanding our presence in international supply chains, etc were also deliberated," the statement said.
PM Modi called for reducing dependence on imports and encouraging "Make in India" projects to build the country's domestic capabilities for designing, developing and manufacturing state-of-the-art defence equipment.
The government is weighing several measures to kick-start the economy, with a drop in economic growth expected because of the coronavirus pandemic and a nationwide lockdown.
Even before the crisis, India's $2.9 trillion economy was growing at its weakest pace in over a decade, but now it is expected to slow to even zero growth in the fiscal year that began on April 1, private economists say, putting further pressure on jobs.