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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday invited leading Swedish defence majors to set up manufacturing bases in India as he showcased the country as an attractive destination for investment to produce military equipment and platforms.

In an address at a conference on India-Sweden defence industry cooperation, he said the government has rolled out a series of reforms to help the defence industries serve not only Indian requirements but also meet global demands.

Singh particularly invited Swedish firms to invest in the defence corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, saying that they can take advantage of the unique incentives being offered by the state governments and the availability of a highly skilled workforce in India.

He also mentioned allowing up to 74 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) through automatic route and up to 100 per cent through government route in the defence manufacturing sector.

An MoU was also signed between the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) and Swedish Security and Defence Industry Association (SOFF) to promote and strengthen the bilateral defence industrial relations through setting up of a dedicated joint working group to take forward mutual objectives.

Singh said the technology-centric FDI policy will enable Indian industries to collaborate with Swedish industries in the field of niche and proven military technologies.

"Over the past few years, the Indian defence industry has been galvanised through progressive policy and procedural reforms which have catapulted the industry to serve not only Indian requirements but also meet global demand," Singh said at the virtual conference.

He said that the foreign OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) can set up manufacturing facilities individually or in partnership with Indian companies through joint ventures or technology agreement to capitalise on the 'Make in India' initiative.

"Swedish firms such as SAAB already have a major presence in India and I am confident that other Swedish firms will find India as a major investment destination for defence manufacturing," he said.

"There is a lot of scope for Sweden and Indian defence Industries for co-production and co-development. Indian industry can also supply components to Swedish industries," he added.

Singh said India has a vast defence industrial base with 41 ordnance factories and nine defence public sector undertakings and expanding private industries supported by an eco-system of over 12,000 micro, small and medium enterprises.

"The Mission - 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' or 'Self-Reliant India' of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi is about producing cost-effective quality products and in its core has the motto - 'Make in India' and 'Make for the World'," he said.

In his address, the defence minister also mentioned that India has a robust shipbuilding industry with an ecosystem of world-class public and private shipbuilding companies.

He said the ships constructed by Indian shipyards are of global standards and extremely cost-effective.

"I take this opportunity to invite Swedish firms to invest in the dedicated defence corridors of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu where they can benefit greatly from the unique incentives being offered by the state governments and the availability of a highly skilled workforce in India," he said.

In his remarks, Peter Hultqvist, the Defence Minister of Sweden, said that there was scope for expanding defence cooperation between the two countries. "Through the combined efforts, both the countries can bring solutions to the problems of the future."

Tanmaya Lal, Ambassador of India to Sweden, emphasised that India and Sweden are long-standing partners with defence cooperation being an important area of overall ties.

Ambassador of Sweden to India Klas Molin said that there is tremendous potential in the business and defence sector between the two sides as around 200–250 Swedish companies are already co-developing and co-producing various products with Indian firms.