Chennai, Apr 12 (PTI) The Tamil Nadu government is formulating an “exclusive aerospace and defence policy” with an objective of achieving 25 per cent share in the sector in the country, Chief Minister K Palaniswami said today.

The policy was also aimed at creating high-end employment opportunities for around one lakh people in the state, he said in his address at the “DefExpo” at Thiruvidanthai near here after its inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He said the development of Chennai Aerospace & Defence Park in nearby Sriperumbudur was one such initiative to start with.

Palainiswami said Tamil Nadu would like to contribute 25 per cent of the country’s defence needs in terms of products and services.

“We shall support our defence forces by providing them capabilities to effectively protect our border. To meet this objective, the state government has enacted a Business Facilitation Act for ensuring timely clearances and ease of doing business in the state”, he said.

Pledging his government’s “wholehearted support” to the Defence corridor project in the state, the chief minister said it would provide proper road connectivity, full power supply and other infrastructure requirements to it.

The project, envisioned by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, would connect Chennai, Hosur, Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli and Salem.

Hailing the Defence Procurement Policy announced by the Centre, Palaniswami said the policy combined with the manufacturing capabilities of domestic companies had opened up new vistas in aerospace and defence manufacturing sectors in the country and Tamil Nadu in particular.

Noting that Tamil Nadu had the largest number of medium and small scale industries in the country, he said the MSMEs should come forward to take up large projects and programmes for defence forces, the DRDO, ISRO and other Central Defence public sector undertakings.

“The state government will readily support such moves by the MSME”, he added.

Pointing out that the aircraft maintenance repair and overhauling (MRO) was also an important area in aerospace and defence sector, he said, the government was focusing on establishing an MRO complex in Chennai.

He invited reputed MRO operators to set up their operations in the state.

Palaniswami requested Modi to consider setting up a manufacturing facility by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for light combat aircraft and helicopters in Salem and also establish a defence MRO in Coimbatore airbase.

There were large number of aerospace and defence related companies in Tamil Nadu not only catering to defence public sector undertakings but also supplying their components to larger global companies, he added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.