Topics: Indian Air Force, India, Indian Armed Forces Pages: 21 (6284 words) Published: July 6, 2013
A Vibrant Indian Military Industrial Complex Needed for Self Reliance

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About The Author :

Mr. Radhakrishna Rao has worked in the documentation and publications division of ISRO for about twenty years after obtaining a degree in science from Calicut University in Kerala. And for nearly two decades he has been writing extensively on issues concerning outer space, defence, aerospace, computers and communications. He has contributed to a number of national newspapers and international media including The Tribune, DNA, International Aerospace, Flight International, Air and Cosmos and Military Technology.

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A Vibrant Indian Military Industrial Complex Needed for Self Reliance

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A Vibrant Indian Military Industrial Complex Needed for Self Reliance According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), today India is world’s largest arms importer with country’s spending on defence hovering between 2.3% and 3% of GDP. While India’s massive spending on import of weapons and defence hardware reflect the keenness to modernize its armed forces and equip them with the capability to take care of the Indian interests beyond the subcontinent, there is a concern that the country which has demonstrated its prowess in space exploration and positioned itself as a software hub of global standing, has failed to acquire self reliance in the vital sector of defence production.

Self-Reliance: Need of the Hour
Indeed, the fact that today India imports bout 70% of its defence equipment makes for a very weak case in the quest to transform the country into a global military power. As observed by Dr.Amer Latif, Visiting Fellow at Wadhwani Chair for US- India policy at Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), “India believes strongly that providing for its own requirements is indicative of being a global power.” Of course, the policy of India’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) is to equip India with the capability to produce 70% of its required military equipment domestically by the end of this decade. But as things stand now, the prospects of realizing this goal within the set timeframe appears bleak. Over the next one decade, India is planning to buy defence equipment worthUS$100-billion and if the country fails to progress sufficiently enough to develop the required military hardware domestically a large chunk of this amount would go towards import. ”Unless some drastic action is taken quickly and the private sector is incentivised to come into the defence production, the situation is not going to work” says Kutub Hai, Head, Mahindra Defence Systems. Indeed, for quite some time now, there has been an animated debate in the country over the viability of building a robust domestic military industrial complex to help India usher in an era of self reliance in defence production. India’s pro active Defence Minister A.K.Antony has all along been making a strong pitch for the Indian defence self reliance. “A country like India cannot indefinitely depend upon foreign weapons,” says Antony. Antony has spiritedly

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urged the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to strengthen its “core competence” and augment its “research and development” base to minimize Indian dependence on imported hardware. He has also driven home the point that “India’s image as a global leader in IT should be reflected in the national defence domain.” Going a step further, he has urged DRDO to do to the Indian defence sector what ISRO has done to the Indian space exploration. In the similar vein, the veteran BJP leader L.K.Advani has stated that a country as large and populous as India with such a vast pool of scientific and technological talent must not remain exclusively dependent on imports for...
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