Tiruchirappalli (Tamil Nadu) (IANS): In an effort to accelerate indigenous production of defence systems, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday inaugurated a Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor here that is expected to attract Rs 3,123.50 crore worth of investment.
Inaugurating the corridor, Sitharaman said the Centre had decided to have two corridors - in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu - despite the demands from states like Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Tiruchirappalli is about 350 km from Chennai.
The Minister also spoke about the Defence Ministry's initiatives to ensure that the Indian industry engages with the country's armed forces to co-create best defence technologies.
According to Sitharaman, the development of these specialised corridors will facilitate a well planned and efficient industrial base.
Several public and private sector organisations announced investment projects worth about Rs 3,100 crore, said the Defence Ministry.
Major players like Lockheed Martin, LMW and others announced their plans to set up units in the corridor.
The Ordinance Factory Board (OFB) announced its plans to invest about Rs 2,305 crore in Tamil Nadu.
The companies that have announced their investments are: BEL (Rs 140.50 crore), BEML (Rs 40 crore), BDL (Rs 150 crore), MDL (Rs 15 crore), TVS (Rs 30 crore), Data Patterns (Rs 75 crore), Alpha Designs (Rs 100 crore), AIDAT (Rs 163 crore) and Aerospace Engineers (Rs 105 crore).
Speaking at the event, Vivek Lall, Vice President, Aeronautics Strategy and Business Development at Lockheed Martin, said the company has identified seven companies as potential manufacturers of components for future F-16 aircraft.
Sitharaman also launched CODISSIA Defence Innovation and Incubation Centre in Coimbatore through video conference.
Recently, a defence industrial corridor in Aligarh was launched.
Later speaking to reporters, Sitharaman said the opposition parties did not hear the government's responses to the allegations made about the Rafale deal.
She said the opposition parties were flying paper planes, taking photos and shouting when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was speaking and wondered how the Congress can say that the government's answers were not satisfactory.