India on way to becoming self-reliant in defence: Antony

AK AntonyTrivandrum (Kerala), Feb 10 : Defence Minister A K Antony on Tuesday said the country is on its way to becoming self-reliant in the defence sector.

Speaking at the foundation laying ceremony of the BrahMos Integration Complex here, Antony said work to make more missiles and warships is in progress.

"BrahMos (missile) is a symbol of co-operation between India and Russia. We need to make more missiles, war ships, planes and tanks. Work on our own Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is progressing. We should soon be self-reliant in this field," said Antony.

The Brahmos, which can travel at up to 2.8 times the speed of sound and has a range of 290 km, was tested at Pokhran.

The Brahmos, named after India''s Brahmaputra river and Russia''s Moscow river, was developed by a joint venture between India''s Defence Research and Development Organisation and Russia''s NPO Mashinostroyenia.

India, which has the world''s fourth-largest military, plans to fit the missile in several ships, officials said.

The LCA will be the first supersonic combat aircraft to be built and flown in India itself.

LCA is the world''s smallest, light weight, multi-role supersonic combat aircraft. It has been designed to meet the requirements of Indian Air Force as its frontline multi-mission single-seat tactical aircraft.

LCA is expected to be inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) from 2010 to replace the Russian made aging MIGs.

Meanwhile, India, wants to modernize its air force, the fourth largest in the world, to cope with possible security threats in the region. It is looking to spend 30 billion dollars on imports over the next five years to modernize its largely Soviet-era arms by introducing new weapons systems. (ANI)