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Defence Minister approves setting up of testing facilities for domestic defence industry

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday (May 15) approved a scheme under which infrastructure would be developed at a cost of Rs 400 crore to help domestic military firms carry out testing of indigenously developed military hardware.

The Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS) is aimed at boosting domestic defence and aerospace manufacturing, officials said.

"The Defence Minister approved the launch of DTIS with an outlay of Rs 400 crore for creating state-of-the-art testing infrastructure for defence sector," the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

It said the scheme would run for a duration of five years and envisages to set up six to eight new testing facilities in partnership with private industry.

It said projects under the scheme will be provided up to 75 per cent government funding in the form of 'grant-in-aid'. The remaining 25 per cent of the project cost will have to be borne by private entities and state governments.

The special purpose vehicles (SPVs) to be set up to implement the scheme will have to be registered under the Companies Act, 2013, and shall also operate and maintain all assets under the scheme in a self-sustainable manner by collecting user charges.

The equipment/systems tested will be certified as per appropriate accreditation, officials said.

At present, India is one of the top importers of military hardware globally. The government has been focusing on making India a hub of defence production.

According to the latest report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a leading think-tank on military spending, India's defence expenditure stood at US$ 71.1 billion in 2019, which is third highest after the US and China.

In 2017, the government came up with an ambitious policy under which select private firms were to be roped in to build key military platforms like submarines and fighter jets in India in partnership with global defence majors.

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