India opens its largest helicopter manufacturing facility in new defence push

BENGALURU: India unveiled on Monday its largest helicopter manufacturing facility, which may end up not less than 1,000 plane a yr, as a part of a defence self-reliance push to counter China’s rising assertiveness.

New Delhi additionally introduced a double-digit enhance in its annual defence funds final week with an eye fixed on its geopolitical rival, with which it shares a disputed northern border.

India is likely one of the largest arms importers on the planet and, even with its current push in direction of native defence manufacturing, nonetheless depends closely on {hardware} from Moscow, its largest and oldest army provider.

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The brand new helicopter facility fulfils “our authorities’s pledge to progressively scale back India’s dependence on international nations for its defence wants”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated after the inauguration.

“I’m blissful that a whole lot of various weapons and defence techniques — from fashionable assault rifles to tanks, plane carriers, helicopters and transport plane — at the moment are being made in India,” he stated.

What was trumpeted as Asia’s largest helicopter manufacturing facility would initially produce Indian-designed and developed Gentle Utility Helicopters after which develop to construct different multirole helicopters.

The manufacturing facility in southern Karnataka state was inaugurated solely months after New Delhi unveiled its regionally made assault helicopters, designed to be used in high-altitude areas such because the Himalayas.

India additionally launched its first regionally made plane provider in September 2022, a big step in its efforts to counter Beijing’s rising presence within the Indian Ocean area.

Asia’s third-largest economic system additionally turned solely one among six nations with nuclear strike capabilities on land, sea and air after it examined a ballistic missile from its first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine.