Tumkur (Karnataka) [India], February 6 (ANI): Underlining the importance of self-reliance in the defence sector, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said the inauguration of the helicopter factory of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) marks a major milestone in this direction.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the HAL's helicopter factory in Karnataka's Tumakuru and also unveiled light utility helicopters for the defence forces.
Addressing the event, the Defence Minister said the movement for a 'Self-reliant India' marks a new phase in the couuntry's journey post independence.
"If the national movement, which started a century ago, culminated in the first phase of our independence, then the 'Self-reliant India' movement marks the second phase of our independence. This phase will see us moving towards freedom from foreign defence equipment," said Singh.
He added that Karnataka stands for development, peace, prosperity and the future of India.
"Borrowing the language of IT and software, if the freedom struggle was the National Movement 1.0, then the 'Self-reliant India' campaign marks the National Movement 2.0," the Defence minister said.
He said the foundation stone for the helicopter plant laid by PM Modi in 2016 is an example of the Centre's continued commitment towards indigenisation of defence manufacturing in the country.
"The foundation stone for this facility was laid by the Prime Minister himself, and its inauguration today is a great example of your (PM Modi's) commitment towards self-reliance in defence manufacturing in the country," said Singh.
He added that India was marching ahead to becoming a hub of manufacturing, especially in defence equipment, for the world.
"In the forseeable future, India will once again be the centre of manufacturing, especially defence manufacturing, for the world. The journey has already begun, and today's inauguration ceremony is proof of that," the Defence minister added.
The new greenfield helicopter factory is tipped to enhance the capacity and ecosystem to build helicopters.
The helicopter manufacturing facility, which will be the largest in Asia, will initially produce Light Utility Helicopters (LUH). LUH is an indigenously designed and developed 3-ton class, single-engine multipurpose utility helicopter with the unique feature of high manoeuvrability, informed the government on Saturday.
The factory will be expanded to manufacture Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) and Indian Multirole Helicopter (IMRH) as well, while also emerging as a facility for the repair and overhaul of LCH, LUH, Civil ALH and IMRH in the future. The factory also has the potential for exporting the civil LUHs in future.
This facility will enable India to meet its entire requirement of helicopters indigenously and will, in time, also attain the distinction of enabling self-reliance in helicopter design, development and manufacture in India.
The factory will have a manufacturing set-up of Industry 4.0 standards. Over the next 20 years, HAL plans to produce more than 1,000 helicopters in the class of 3-15 tonnes from Tumakuru. The same will result in employment for about 6,000 people in the region. (ANI)