National defence no longer confined to borders, expanded towards cyber, social space: PM Modi

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New Delhi, July 18: Emphasizing on national security and new-age warfare, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said national defence is no longer confined to borders but has expanded towards space, cyberspace and economic and social sphere.
Speaking at the Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) seminar ‘Swavlamban’ at Dr Ambedkar International Centre here. Modi said, “National defence is no longer limited to borders, but is much broader. Therefore it is equally necessary to make every citizen aware of it. Now the threats to national security have also become widespread. The methods of warfare are also changing. Earlier we used to imagine our defence only till land, sea and sky. Now the area is moving towards space, cyberspace and economic and social space.”
“As India is establishing itself on the global stage, there are constant attacks through misinformation, disinformation and false campaign. We have to thwart every effort of the forces that harm India’s interests, whether in the country or abroad,” he emphasized.
The Prime Minister highlighted the government’s efforts in making the country self-reliant in every sector and leverage indigenous technologies.
“We developed the habit of being dependent on foreign countries for even the simplest products. Like drug addicts, we were addicted to the products imported from abroad. To change this mindset, we worked on mission mode after 2014,” he said.
Modi further said, “If you do not give love and respect to your own child and expect the same from your neighbours, can it be done? If we do not value our products, how can we expect the world to invest in us? When we showed confidence in our indigenously developed BRAHMOS, the world came forward too.”
Giving the example of the toys industry in the country, he said, “When we invested in Indian toys, when the whole of India came together to encourage Vocal for Local, the toy imports were reduced by 70 per cent within 2 years. Even the kids called each other to ask, ‘tere ghar mein videshi khilona toh nahi hai na?”
The Prime Minister said learning from the approach of the past decades, today a new defence ecosystem is being developed in India. Defence research and development has been opened for the private sector, academia, MSMEs and start-ups.
He said, “We have given new strength to our public sector defence companies by organizing them in different sectors. Today we are making sure that how we connect our premier institutions like IITs with defence research and innovation.”
Highlighting the development of a new defence ecosystem in the country, Modi said India is moving fast from the biggest importer to a big exporter in the defence sector.
“In the last 8 years, we have not only increased the defence budget, but we have also ensured that this budget is useful in the development of the defence manufacturing ecosystem in the country itself. Today, a large part of the budget earmarked for the purchase of defence equipment is being spent on procurement from Indian companies. In the last 4-5 years, our defence imports have come down by about 21 per cent. Today we are moving fast from the biggest defence importer to a big exporter,” he emphasised.
Prime Minister Modi on Monday unveiled project ‘SPRINT’ (Supporting Pole-Vaulting in Research and Development through iDEX, NIIO and TDAC), a collaborative project of NIIO and Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) that aims at inducting at least 75 new indigenous technologies and products into the Indian Navy.
The seminar aims to engage Indian industry and academia towards achieving self-reliance in the Defence sector. The two-day Seminar (July 18-19) will provide a platform for leaders from industry, academia, services and government to come together on a common platform to ideate and come up with recommendations for the defence sector. Sessions dedicated to Innovation, Indigenisation, Armament and Aviation will be held. (Agencies)