MUMBAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that India must build up its military might to the point that no other country “dare cast an evil eye” on the South Asian nation.

Mr Modi made the statement at a ceremony in Mumbai for the commissioning of the country’s biggest locally built warship.

“Our aim is to achieve such prowess in our defence capabilities that no country dare cast an evil eye on India,” he told naval officers and other dignitaries.

India is in the midst of a $100-billion defence upgrade programme.

Mr Modi’s government has raised the foreign investment cap on India’s defence industries to speed up modernisation of the military.

Mr Modi said India must stop relying so heavily on defence imports and focus instead on local research, design and manufacture.

India is the world’s largest arms importer with the United States recently overtaking Russia as the biggest arms supplier, followed by France and Israel.

“This warship has been built by India’s engineers, technicians and defence experts,” the premier said.

“It is the biggest example yet of what we can make in India,” he said.

“It is the aim of this government to take India from its position of importing every little piece of military hardware to a position where we can export equipment.”

The 6,800-ton INS Kolkata is fitted with the most advanced weapons systems, sensors and communication technology.

Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2014

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