Minister for Information Technology, and Industry K T Rama Rao has called upon the union government to rise above petty political considerations while choosing states for setting up defence and aerospace units in the country. He wanted the government to consider the existing ecosystem rather than elections as a deciding factor for setting up strategic defence production units, in private or government sectors.

He was addressing the third edition of Defence Conclave titled “Advantage Telangana: Examining Transformations and Exploring Opportunities” organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here on Wednesday.

“I had met four defence ministers in the last five years and requested them to support Hyderabad and Telangana in our growth story as we a have a good eco-system for the growth of defence and aerospace industry, industry ready workforce and its strategic location,” he said. He sought the Centre’s nod for starting a Defence Production Corridor between Hyderabad and Bangalore.

“Unfortunately it occurs to me even in the matters of strategic sectors like Aerospace and defence sometimes the regional compulsions are outweighing national strategies,” Rama Rao said. He remembered that one defence minister told him that it has been decided to set up one such corridor in Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh and one in Chennai.

“I asked on what grounds the decision was taken, as they overlooked Hyderabad and Bangalore. I would be equally happy if an industry sets shop anywhere in Telangana, or anywhere in India. But it appears to me that GOI doesn’t think that way,” he said.

The Minister for Industries recalled that one of the investors told him that they were asked by the Government to consider Nagpur, Gujarat or Rajasthan. He added that it is a travesty that investments coming to India in important sectors like defence have to be based on political and geopolitical considerations. “Government of India should have a relook into the strategy as it is spending millions of dollars, on defence acquisitions,” he said.

Government of India should focus on indigenous production as we import significant portion from other countries which is a shame where we are able to do rapid strides in defence and aerospace, there is no reason why Indian entrepreneurs couldn’t do more provided they are given a helping hand by the GOI. Secondly, he said that we have to rise above our petty political and geopolitical equations. “It can’t be just winning elections in UP with lot of Parliament seats, or some other state,” he pointed out.

He expressed hope that sense and wisdom will prevail the centre starts taking sectors like defence seriously and start working on strategies that make sense for India as a country and not political parties and leadership.

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