Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said the operations of the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) would be expanded to compete with global aerospace and defence equipment manufacturing companies. He inspected the defence equipment manufacturing companies here and discussed with the units’ officials the ways to increase quality and quantity of their products. “We want to expand HAL so that it can take on the global defence equipment manufacturers. We’ll be meeting with the company’s officials and discuss with them issues related to technology, quality and production,” the minister said. He said the government would endeavour to give the city — which has five ordnance factories, a HAL unit and an IIT — “the place it deserved in the defence industry”. The Minister said there was no plan to privatise the Kanpur—based defence companies. “The government, rather, was devising ways to improve their efficiency and output.” The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been asked to collaborate with the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to conduct joint research programmes to help meet the country’s defence needs, he added.