In a bid to boost indigenous defence production in India, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday inaugurated the Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor in Tiruchirapalli district of the South Indian state. The much-ambitious corridor in the heart of Tamil Nadu also gets an impressive response from the local industrialists with various private and public sectors announcing an investment of around Rs 3100 crores.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony in Tiruchirapalli, Sitharaman said, "The response from the local industry to this defence corridor has been amazing. They even wanted to extend this corridor up to Palakkad but we had to tell them that it would currently consist of these five nodes (cities) only".
The Defence Minister also spoke about various initiatives for the industry to engage with armed forces and co-create the best in defence technologies under the banner of "Make in India' programme. Besides accelerating growth in regional industries, these corridors will also facilitate a well-planned and efficient industrial base resulting in a boost to defence production.
The Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor, also called the Tamil Nadu Defence Production Quad as the nodal cities form a quadrilateral, includes Chennai, Hosur, Salem, Coimbatore and Tiruchirappalli as nodes. The idea behind setting up defence industrial corridors is to ensure connectivity among various defence industrial units.
Aforementioned five nodal cities have existing defence ecosystem in the form of OFBs (Ordnance Factory Boards), vendors working with Defence PSUs, and other allied industries. Many global conglomerates like Lockheed Martin also announced their plans to invest in the corridor. This will be the country's second defence industrial corridor after the first one was launched in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh on August 11, 2018, with an investment of Rs 3,732 crore in defence production.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his Budget speech on February 2 last year, had announced that two defence industrial production corridors will be set up in the country to promote the domestic defence industry.
Apart from these corridors, Sitharaman also launched the "CODISSIA Defence Innovation and Incubation Centre" to support the MSMEs, Start-Ups and existing industries in their endeavour to expand and contribute significantly for defence indigenisation and other areas.
The minister is also scheduled to sign three defence-related MoUs on Sunday and later in the day will inaugurate the Coimbatore Defence Innovation hub via video conference from Trichy.
(With inputs from agencies)