Delivering the valedictory address at a two-day seminar on 'Defence Industry Convergence' here, Mr Kareem said the liberalisation of the defence production sector in the country had opened a huge opportunity for private sector companies.
Noting that the union defence budget for this year stood at almost Rs 100,000 crore, he said almost 40 per cent of this was used for internal procurement of equipment.
To make use of this tremendous potential, the Kerala Government would like to open an industrial park exclusively for defence production units of the public and private sector, he added.
Later, speaking at a press conference, the minister said that Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi or Palakkad could provide ideal locations to open such a park. Talking of the potential in Palakkad, he said the state industries corporation already had the required land adjacent to the highway in the district.
In his special address at the valedictory function, union Defence Production Secretary K P Singh stressed the need for the country to be self-reliant in defence technology.
''While 100 per cent self-sufficiency is not our goal, it is important that the country have demonstrable capability in the production of different systems such as tanks, aircraft, guns and ships. This was necessary as other countries would agree to collaborations and technology transfer agreements only if the country had a certain proven capability, otherwise we will have to depend on them to buy the finished products,'' he added.
Alluding to the importance of information technology and software in the modern defence systems, he said Indian IT companies could make a mark in this area.
Also present at the function were Kerala Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, T Balakrishnan, Kerala CII chairman Umang Patodia and Kerala State Small Industries Association President Abdul Rahim.