Best time to make indigenous defence products: Experts

Sakal Times
Monday, 25 December 2017

`16 lakh crore on indigenous projects
 With the Mission of ‘Make in India’, the Defence & Aerospace Segment has opened up for Indian industries where imports shoot up to 70% for country’s defence needs. Indigenisation has become a priority in this sector with the anticipated expenditure on indigenous projects amounting to Rs 16 lakh crore in the next 5 years. 

Pune: With the Centre’s thrust on Make in India and liberalisation of defence licences, this is the best time for the industry to get onto the defence bandwagon and create indigenous defence capabilities, according to various experts who spoke at the Defence Innovators and Industry Association (DIIA) regional activator conference which was held in the city recently.

KM  Rajan, Director of city-based Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Rahul Chaudhary, CEO Tata Power, Cmde Mukesh Bhargava, VP Defence L&T, Harshawardhan Gune, head strategic products, Worldwide Oil Field Machines, were present. More than 150 micro, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs) participated in the day-long deliberations which highlighted the potential of cities like Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad and Nagpur as possible defence hubs in the future. 

ARDE Director Rajan said, “With government’s thrust on Make in India, Ministry of Defence’s focus on indigenised products and the technology development fund, there are a lot of opportunities for industry and innovators. Long-term planning, strategic approach, vision and prioritisation are the key factors essential for indigenisation of defence. Industry experts, innovators need to influence the policy making to give indigenisation maximum importance. It will also provide a lot of employment opportunities.”

Cmde Bhargava added, “The real Make in India can be propelled through defence manufacturing. This is still an industry in nascent stages but with government thrust on Make in India and liberalisation of defence sector, there is a huge opportunity for private sector not only big players and MSMEs who will be an important part of the supply chain. Stringent quality requirements and standards will be a challenge though. With MoD aspiring to procure equipment worth $250 billion in next 7 to 8 years, the entire matrix has changed upside down. The majority of the procurement will be from India and this will provide a huge opportunity.”

In his welcome address, Chaudhary said, “For defence indigenisation to happen, we have to create our own Intellectual Property, R&D and products.”

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