Chennai, April 11: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said the government cannot compel Indian armed forces to buy indigenous weapons, after she opened a major defence exhibition that projects India -- the biggest global arms importer -- as one of the major defence manufacturing hubs in the world.
The four-day DefExpo India, whose theme is "Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub, held at Thiruvidanthai off the East Coast Road near hear, is the 10th in the biennial exercise aimed at establishing Brand India and highlighting the manufacturing capabilities of the country's public and private sectors.
Asked about the huge export-import gap in the defence sector of a country, Sitharaman said she could only tell the Indian armed forces to procure from indigenous companies "as much as possible".
She said "I can't imagine prevailing upon them. We will only want them to give space to local manufacturers and buy indigenous products."