Pune: Baba Kalyani, Chairman and Managing Director of Pune-based Bharat Forge Limited of Kalyani Group, on Thursday, said, "India will become a major exporter of defence equipment in the next 10 years." He also asked entrepreneurs engaged in defence products manufacture to form a cluster for the exchange of ideas and networking.
Kalyani was addressing businessmen and entrepreneurs during a session on 'opportunities in defence for Indian industry' organised by Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) under the aegis of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
The session was held at BHAU auditorium at College of Engineering, Pune.
"For the first time, Defence Production Policy 2018 has set a clear set of objectives and strategies. It will help industries and generate jobs also. The industries must develop technologies, products on their own rather than only looking for requests from the forces, or Ministry of Defence. If you develop products, you will always remain ahead of others," said Kalyani, who is also the chairman of SIDM, which has 153 members.
He also gave an example of the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun (ATAG) developed by Bharat Forge, even before the requirement came. "We knew Army will require it and hence invested in the ATAG system. And after getting a request from the Army, we delivered it within two and half years," he added.
Talking about defence cluster, Kalyani said, "A lot of grant is available for defence research but people don't know much about it. There should be an exchange of ideas among small and medium enterprises (in defence sector). They should form a cluster. It will help in getting testing facilities, make right representation to the government, etc. You can develop several technologies, products like rifles on your own. It's not rocket science. You have to take the initiative."
Viren Joshi, Chairman of CII, Pune zone, and CEO of Sigma Electric Pvt Ltd, added, "There is no dearth of ideas in our country. We had asked 10 colleges to send reports if they are doing research related to defence technology and we had received 180 proposals."
Lt Gen Subrata Saha, Director General of SIDM, said, "The Defence Production Policy 2018 is ambitious and forward-looking. Its vision is to put India among the top five countries of the world in aerospace and defence industries. The key objectives of the policy include the development of a strong defence industry leading to higher self-reliance. Setting its sight on the need to reduce the current high import dependency, the policy identifies 13 sets of weapon systems/platforms (including fighters, helicopters, warships, missile systems, ammunition and explosives, land systems and electronics) whose development and manufacture would commence latest by 2025. Other objectives include an increase in domestic arms sales to Rs 1,70,000 crore by 2025, with around one-fifth of it, Rs 35,000 crore, coming through exports. This will boost the domestic industries and create millions of jobs."