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Defence PSUs take lead in investing in UP Defence Industrial Corridor

Defence PSUs take lead in investing in UP Defence Industrial CorridorALIGARH: Defence Public Sector Undertakings have taken the lead in investing heavily in the Uttar Pradesh Defence Industrial Corridor which saw the launching of projects for it here today, even as Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman pushed the public and private sector towards focussing on exporting their products.

The development comes even as UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at the event stated that he requests Sitharaman to shift the venue of the biennial Aero India show from its traditional location in Bangalore to UP. He added that if this happens it would boost the corridor in the state. Sitharaman who was present for the event didn’t officially respond to the request. It can be recalled that ET has reported that while keeping an eye on the approaching elections the Centre is advancing the Aero India show by a year and will be shifting it to the Bakshi Ka Talab air station in Lucknow.

Meanwhile at the event, defence PSU, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) became the top investor in the defence corridor. HAL Chairman and Managing Director, T Suvarna Raju, announced that the organisation has invested Rs 1200 crore in the corridor, which will create local investment for the next 25 years and employment. Raju explained to ET that Rs 700 crore has been invested in Lucknow for the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft and upgrade of the Sukhoi fighters. Even the Rs 200 crore investment in Korwa is for the same purpose. In Kanpur, Rs 200 crore has been invested for transport aircraft, while Rs 30 crore is for Naini Aerospace Limited in Allahabad, which is a HAL subsidiary.

“At Naini we are making harnesses for the Light Combat Aircraft and the Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter. With Boeing, we will train locals for manufacturing harnesses,” he said.

President Boeing India Pratyush Kumar at the event stated, “we will select young trainees for a world class curriculum from our facilities across the world. We will ensure that UP is catapulted to the highest levels and trainees generate world class equipment.”

Meanwhile, Ordnance Factory Board Chairman said that it has committed Rs 1076 crore project investments in the next five years in the UP corridor. Bharat Electronics Limited has committed to the corridor with projects worth Rs 200 crore for the modernisation of its facility in Ghaziabad and Rs 40 crore for setting up a regional support centre in Agra. Private company Bharat Forge announced investment of Rs 200 crore for setting up an ammunition factory, while another one, MKU, will be investing Rs 900 crore in electro optic facilities in Noida, upgrading its armour facility and manufacturing small and large calibre arms in Kanpur.

Six nodal points have been identified for the UP corridor, which are Agra, Aligarh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Chitrakoot and Jhansi. One stakeholder interaction was held today at Aligarh- a place known for hardware manufacturing- which saw participation from manufacturers to defence PSUs and MSMEs. Both the UP corridor and the one coming up in Tamil Nadu will be built on existing defence production facilities, create a supply chain of MSMEs and manufacturers, and testing and export facilitation centres.

In relation, Sitharaman highlighted the need for defence export potential. "Our defence equipment manufacturing should be explored to tap the global market as well. Efforts should be made to increase export market of defence equipment,” she said.

She also said that industries can offer suo moto proposals for defence solutions. “Startups and MSMEs can show their innovative products to us. After required tests are completed, we are ready to buy those products. I assure you to give you orders for minimum 10 years,” she added.

Later, the Army’s Vice Chief Lt Gen Devraj Anbu, at the event added, “Suo moto proposals coming from individuals, industries can prove to be a game changer. The Indian Army is a major beneficiary of these initiatives."

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