Sitharaman declined to comment on the investments UAE would be making in defence sector in India this year
India is increasingly looking at modernising its defence equipment and increasing its stealth capability.
The UAE and India share a very important strategic partnership, and there is a lot of potential for the UAE to invest in the Indian defense sector for further growth, says India's Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
"One dimension that I would like to underline and play up is the cooperation in terms of defence production. India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership is laying a lot of importance on 'Make in India'. This together with the fact that India is one of the largest military and equipment buyers, we are looking at a growing need for purchasing a lot of equipment that is technically superior," the minister told a delegation of UAE journalists at her office.
India is increasingly looking at modernising its defence equipment and increasing its stealth capability. "We are looking at an across the board approach towards procurement; and where possible if it can be manufactured in India. It is beneficial in two ways: it builds a captive market. And manufacturers can sell in India and to markets outside, too."
Sitharaman declined to comment on the investments UAE would be making in defence sector in India this year, saying that it is a commercial decision. "The decision rests with the investors when they would like to invest. Although I can see very clearly intentions of wanting to do it... and we have very clearly said any amount of hand holding that is required will be done by specific groups from within the industry."
All the three forces of India - Army, Navy and Air Force, - are modernising their equipment and the thrust is to get going with the acquisitions of modern apparatus that has been pending for over 10 years. "We have already lost a considerable about of time. But under PM Modi we have made sure that acquisition is on track. The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) too, has rapidly moved forward towards the integration between what the DRDO has achieved with the forces.
Sitharaman recalled visiting the UAE during her stint as India's Commerce Minister. "The depth of the relationship has become notice worthy after Narendra Modi visited and we are grateful to the His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and his brothers to have offered a wonderful welcome to our PM. And I can see that the relationship is only growing from strength to strength," she said.