There was a time when socialist tilted India had to depend on other countries for its own safety. For a major part of our existence as independent nations in the modern world order, countries like Russia, USA, France and Israel have provided us arms to fight. Things are changing now. PM Modi’s ‘Make in India’ is changing it as our arms industry has sprawled in the last few years.
India shows a remarkable sign of AATMANIRBHARTA in defence
In one of the rarest occasions in recent history, India has cancelled deals involving buying of arms and ammunition for defence. The cancellation holds significance as the reason behind the government’s cancellation is that it has better options available from inside India. This is a major up-gradation considering India’s historic dependence on defence imports.
Modi government has called off deals for the purchase of short-range Surface-to-Air missiles. Additionally, a tender for the purchase of 14 choppers for the Indian Coast Guard has also been cancelled. The decision came after the Ministry of Defence (MoD) held a meeting to review import deals with foreign vendors.
The meeting was a part of a series of meeting the government has decided to hold in order to promote ‘make in India’ in defence. The meetings will be focused on finalising the procedures of phasing out foreign vendors from Indian defence sectors. Cancelling old deals and reallocating them to Indian vendors is the utmost priority. Discussions around reward structures to Indian manufacturers will also be held.
India is decoupling itself from import dependence
In its 70 years of existence as an independent nation, India had always relied on other countries like Russia, France, the USA and lately Israel, for its defence equipment. As reported by the TFI, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, he laid emphasis on India’s AATMANIRBHARTA in defence manufacturing. Since it was not possible to suddenly reduce India’s dependence on defence imports to zero, the government added a technology transfer clause to its deal. Under this, a foreign country selling its product in India would have to provide technical know-how to Indian companies and the government.
To cut costs in defence deals, the government made some strict provisions with regards to agents involved in deals. After making it tough to import, the government went on to solve the bottleneck issue of bureaucratic hindrance in India’s defence industry, and dissolved Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). Moreover, the government is engaging local private sectors through initiatives like Atmanirbhar Bharat and Make-in-India.
Defence Industrial Corridor is a game-changer
Additionally, the Government decided to establish defence industrial corridors in 2018. Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were chosen for this novel Initiative.
While the government decided to leverage Tamil Nadu’s proven capability in technology; Uttar Pradesh’s pro-business environment under CM Yogi was the main reason behind its selection. Union and state governments gave exemption and concessions in the duty taxes, electricity duty, stamp duty, etc. to promote the industry. The establishment of the industrial corridor provided a huge boost to the MSME sector of the North Indian state.
Soon, India is going to be a major arms’ destination for the world. In fact, in last 7-years, India has exported weapons worth Rs 38,000 crores to other countries. This is one of the remarkable signs of India’s increasing clout in defence manufacturing.
Economic growth is not enough to have superpower status. If a country cannot rely on itself for its own firewalls, it won’t garner respect on the international stage. PM Modi understands it and the cancellation of foreign vendors is just a glimpse of this visionary understanding.