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Can't remain dependent on other countries for India's defence: Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addresses during the inauguration of the HALs new LCA-Tejas Production Line in Bengaluru. A PTI Photo

BENGALURU (PTI):  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said India cannot remain dependent on other countries for its defence.

Under the 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan India is looking forward to increase its defence manufacturing capabilities, said Singh, who inaugurated Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's second LCA-Tejas production line here on Tuesday.

"India cannot remain dependent on other countries for its defence", he said.

Singh said Tejas is not only indigenous, but is also better than its foreign equivalents on several parameters and also comparatively cheaper.

"Many countries have shown interest in Tejas. India will achieve the target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore in the field of defence manufacturing in (a) few years", the Minister said.

The delivery of the Tejas LCA to the Indian Air Force under a Rs 48,000-crore deal will begin from March 2024 and around 16 aircraft will be rolled out annually till the completion of the total supply of 83 jets, Chairman and Managing Director of HAL, R Madhavan said recently.

Madhavan had also said that a number of countries have shown keen interest in procurement of Tejas and that the first export order is likely to come by in the next couple of years.

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 13 approved the Rs 48,000- crore deal to procure 73 Tejas Mk-1A variants and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 trainer aircraft from the HAL to boost the Indian Air Force's combat prowess.

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