The government, Modi said, has approved a strategic partnership in defence between Indian and foreign companies.sST PETERSBURG (RUSSIA): Prime Minister Narendra Modi today invited Russian companies to partner Indian firms in setting up manufacturing facilities to make high-tech defence equipment in India.

Addressing CEOs of the two countries after the annual bilateral summit here, Modi said India had last month approved a policy to allow local private companies to work with foreign players to manufacture defence equipment in a bid to cut reliance on imports.

“India is sixth biggest manufacturer in the world and we want to raise the share of manufacturing in GDP from 16 per cent to 25 per cent,” he said.

The government, he said, has approved a strategic partnership in defence between Indian and foreign companies.

“I invite Russian companies to join Indian companies in setting up manufacturing base taking advantage of the new policy,” he said.

The policy allows the entry of private companies into the manufacture of submarines, fighter aircraft and armoured vehicles through foreign partnerships.

Modi, who wants to reverse India’s dependence on imports by building a local manufacturing industry, asked Russian firms to “come work with Indian companies” in defence.

The just approved policy allows Indian companies to partner with global defence majors “to seek technology transfers and manufacturing know-how to set up domestic manufacturing infrastructure and supply chains.”

With Russian President Putin by his side, Modi said the 70-year old Indo-Russian relations are based on trust.

“Relations have broadened and stood the test of time,” he said adding Russia has stood by India at international forums.

Trade, commerce, innovation and engineering are of immense importance in this era, Modi said, adding companies from Russia should explore the opportunities in India and collaborate with the industry.

“Defence is a key area where India and Russia can cooperate. I appreciate President Putin’s role in enhancing India-Russia ties,” Modi said.