Parrikar makes his message to Pak clear during address at Aero India

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Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday said that India will protect its security interests if any threats by neighbouring countries are perceived. In a loud and clear message to China as well as Pakistan, he said that keeping calm did not mean lack of preparedness.

"Keeping calm doesn't necessarily mean you are unprepared. I am glad that Gen Bajwa has kept his forces calm but it doesn't mean I am not prepared. My preparedness is an individual exercise and not an offensive one," he said responding to a question on Pakistan forces' relatively calm since General Qamar Bajwa took over as the army chief.

Parrikar at Aero India 2017 in Bengaluru

He refused to divulge much on questions on Chinese military placing their strategic bombers near Indian borders.

"I do not have the liberty to answer all questions but you should know that if the security interests of the country are threatened, measures will be taken to protect it," he said.

The 'Make In India' push

Parrikar hailed the government's Make in India initiative and its contribution in indigenous defense production.

"The HAL has put up a spectacular display with indigenous aircraft like Rudra, Druv, light combat helicopters and Light Utility Helicopters. The production was stuck for almost 2 years but they have come a long way in maintaining timeline. It may be noted that the basic trainer aircraft were manufactured in just 15 months," he said.

Taking a dig at the previous government, he said that the emphasis was never laid on India manufacturing earlier and that it was the Make in India push that has led to enhancement of the sector.

He said that the Make in India initiative had opened up venues for largescale outsourcing, adding that increasing production of indigenous products can boost the sector.

"We have a huge market, since the requirement in aeronautical sector will be enhanced in the coming years. We would require about 1,000 aircraft for civil aviation alone. The requirement for helicopters in defence could be 800-1,000 and fighters around 600-800. We would need 5000 engines for helicopters alone," he said.

Difference of opinion on FDI

Foreign investment in defence sector has remained a controversial issue. When asked about the difference of opinion between the BJP and the RSS over FDI in defense, Parrikar said that no move that would compromise the interest of the nation would be taken.

"Concerns will be considered and decision will be made on a case by case basis. Move that would compromise the interest of the nation will not be taken. In case of Indian firms producing products, FDI will not be applied but in cases where we lack the expertise, foreign firms will be invited," he said.

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