Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday urged American companies to come and invest in India and support the ‘Make in India’ programme.
“I have talked to American companies for Make in India and aerospace and world programme. I have invited them for these programmes,” Singh told reporters at a joint news conference with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar along with their American counterparts Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Tony Blinken.
“We are talking to US companies for co-development and co-production. We are proposing it to them. We have asked the US companies to work in the UP and Tamil Nadu corridor and invest in that area,” he said at the conclusion of the India-US 2+2 ministerial, the first of the Biden administration.
“I have insisted that India would focus on co-developmental productions and all the investors should come to India. They are welcome. And because in India they can develop the ‘Make in India’ because we want to build and make everything in India,” Singh told reporters in response to a question.
Earlier, in his opening remarks at the 2+2 ministerial, Singh said that India places the highest priority upon the strategic partnership with USA. “Major defence partnership is one of the most important pillars of India-US strategic relations, he said.
“As the largest country and the centre to Indian Ocean, and as a democracy, India has critical roles to play in the Indian Ocean region and in the wider Indo-Pacific following the Act East and the Neighbourhood First policy,” he said.
India played preeminent role in the region, from the Tsunami in 2004 and during the COVID pandemic. “We have signed eight different defence-related agreements between our two countries in last few years, including a Space Situational Awareness Agreement for unclassified domain, which is being signed today,” he added.
Despite the pandemic, India-USA military engagements increased with higher capability in communication, closer information sharing, and enhanced mutual logistic support, he said adding that this is a reflection of their growing depth and scale of the defense partnership.
“In a decade, our defense suppliers from USA rose from negligible to a cumulative around of over USD 20 billion. We look forward to US companies investing in India and support the Make In India programme,” he said.
“We look forward to further enhancing the depth and the scope of our defense cooperation to give effect to our shared vision of a free, open, inclusive, and a rules-bound Indo-Pacific and the Indian Ocean region,” he said.
India, he said, is working with the US to double up capabilities across conventional and emerging defense domains. “We have made good progress in a number of defense cooperation activities since the visit of Secretary Austin to India in March 2021”.