India, France to jointly make aero engines: Defense minister

New Delhi: Defense minister Rajnath Singh said France has agreed to jointly manufacture aero engines in India under the government’s strategic partnership model to boost self-reliance in the defense manufacturing sector.

His comments came a day after he held the 3rd annual defense dialogue with his French counterpart Florence Parly.

“A big French company will manufacture an engine in India, thus far not made in the country, in collaboration with an Indian firm,” Singh said at an event organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Singh did not divulge details of the proposed cooperation with France. Aero engines are a glaring capability gap in India’s defense manufacturing sector, with major indigenous flying platforms equipped with imported engines.

The strategic partnership model Singh referred to is an important element of the country’s Defense Procurement Procedure and seeks to provide a fillip to the government’s Make in India program. It aims at bringing high-end military technology into the country and lays down the template for partnership between Indian companies and foreign military contractors to build advanced platforms.

Singh said the current reforms undertaken by the government will help the Indian defense and aerospace sector clock a turnover of ₹five lakh crore by 2047, compared to the current ₹85,000 crore.

The steps taken by the government to boost indigenization include increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) limit from 49% to 74%, notifying two lists of 209 weapons and systems that cannot be imported, and creating a separate budget for buying locally made military hardware.

“For the security of India, it is necessary that we develop our defense capacity and capability (to a level) that even the most powerful country in the world has to think a thousand times before planning anything that endangers our interests. Our government’s aim is not to attack anyone, but prepare our armed forces to be ready at all times to give a befitting reply to the country’s enemies,” Singh said.


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