Bangalore- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked global defence contractors to transfer more technology to India as part of the lucrative deals that they win to modernise its armed forces.

The country's offsets policy, which requires contractors to invest a percentage of the value of the deal in India, will be tweaked to encourage more technology transfer, and less simple assembly or production, Modi said at the opening ceremony of the Aero India airshow at Yelahanka air base in Bangalore.

"We have the reputation as the largest importer of defence equipment. This may be music to the ears of some of you. But this is an area where we do not want to be number one," Modi said before an air display of Indian military planes.

"It will no longer be enough to buy equipment and simply assemble here."

Defence contractors such as Boeing (BA.N), Lockheed Martin (LMT.N), Airbus (AIR.PA) and Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA) have made a beeline to India in recent years in search of deals worth billions of dollars.

Modi, however, added that India should aim to cut defence imports from 60 to 30 percent in the next five years. It can double its defence output and create hundreds of thousands of skilled jobs as a result, he said.

He called for a level playing field between the private sector and public sector firms such as Hindustan Aeronautics, the main beneficiary of India’s defence offset requirements, and asked both to step up to the task of meeting India's requirements.