New Delhi (NVI): Armed forces are keen to procure indigenised technical textiles and partner with Indian industries as a part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat said today.
He expressed confidence that technical clothing requirements for armed forces are likely to be included in negative import list if they can be met at an indigenous level.
Pertinent to mention here that the Centre announced a ‘negative list for imports’ in August last year that restricted purchase of 101 defence items. These items included transport aircraft, light combat helicopters, conventional submarines and cruise missiles from foreign entities.
While addressing the 9th edition of TECHNOTEX 2021 organized by FICCI, General Rawat said that India will not hesitate to put the entire technical clothing requirement of the armed forces on the negative import list if it can itself manufacture them.
“Defense services have a huge stake in technical textiles. We are one of the largest users of techno textiles that use technology, and we will continue to use them in the years ahead,” General Rawat said.
He further mentioned that techno textile entrepreneurs and those already in this field will help the armed forces with the kind of textiles they are looking at. “Our jawans are operating in extreme temperatures and we are looking for kind of clothing that can sustain them in such climate,” he added.
Gen Rawat further stated that a large amount of defence technical clothing is being imported but there have also been major innovations within the Indian industry in the past few years. “We have now started placing orders for such clothing,” he said.
He said the armed forces is also considering clothing for special marking or technology that can help them identify friends from foe. He mentioned that armed forces also use lot of fibre material for different purposes like insulation, covering, lining, etc., which must be waterproof, long lasting and possess elasticity.
He also identified upcoming areas that would require special, like technical clothing for space missions, stealth technology-based clothing for special forces, special dressing bandages for medical purposes, insect and mosquito repellent clothing as an emerging area of interest for armed forces.
Mekapati Goutham Reddy, Minister of Industries, Commerce, Information Technology and Skill Development, Andhra Pradesh, said that the success of this sector is not just determined by the annual growth, scale of production and volume of trade, but it will be remembered with its impact on livelihoods secured, technology infused, and innovations done to minimize the dependency and maximize self-sustenance.
The state of Andhra Pradesh, he said, truly believes in the power of human capital and has established new centres and skilled colleges across state so that quality skill is accessible to all.
“To achieve USD 5 trillion economy, special emphasis is needed on techno textile and manmade fibre,” Mr Reddy said. We as a nation need to look as reskilling and upskilling and there is a huge opportunity for us to scale at the global level, he added.
He further mentioned that innovation is also disrupting the industry and compelling the fashion stalwarts to be sustainable. “The sector is transforming with the penetration of AI, upsurge in ecommerce,” he added.
Capt Dibya Shankar Mishra, Minister Industries, MSME, Energy and Home, Government of Odisha, said, “Odisha is fast emerging as the manufacturing hub of East India owing to proactive and progressive governance.”
Upendra Prasad Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, said, “Technical textile has many applications. It is a versatile sector with a high manoeuvrability and with the potential to replace many products. The government has set up technical textile mission and scrutiny of 15 – 20 R&D projects are also underway.
“In PLI, he said we have included the man-made fibre and technical textile. He further said that government, researchers, and industry must come together to explore many more opportunities in the technical textile. “Technical textile will be very much useful in defence and will go in a long way in making India Atmanirbhar,” the Minister added.