Need to relook Make in India policy to boost defence industry: CDS Rawat

New Delhi (NVI): India’s aspirations of being a regional power can no longer be held hostage to arms import, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat today said, while highlighting the need for industry to seize opportunities in defence manufacturing.

While addressing eSymposium on ‘Catalysing Defence Exports’, organized by FICCI, General Rawat said, “Amidst the host of initiatives taken by the government to boost domestic defence industry, time is now right for the industry to seize the opportunities and achieve strategic interdependence in defence manufacturing and make India a net exporter of defence equipment.”

He stated that it is imperative for India to invest in building long-term indigenous capabilities on application of decisive military power which will also give us the benefit of increasing our defence exports in the future. “All stakeholders must play a key role in developing the desired defence ecosystem,” he said.

To boost the defence industry and export of defence products, General Rawat emphasized on the need to relook the Make in India policy. “Make in India theme may be relooked with three broad objectives viz. Make in India for import substitution, Make in India for sustained domestic demand and Make in India for global exports,” he added.

He further said that there is a need for well thought out defence export strategies on economic viability and sustained growth for defence industry.

General Rawat said that recent announcements by the government including the negative import list, increasing the FDI limit, separate budget provisions are some of the initiative that will lead to a comprehensive defence ecological system within the MSME sector.

“The MSMEs as tier-2 and 3 suppliers, startups as innovators and industry houses as aggregators, quality assurance services, and academia must work in synergy to come up with world class defence products,” he said.

He also said that India needs to revamp our ordnance factories and other defence PSUs in terms of modernization, work culture and quality control. “Corporatization including public listing of some units would be the way forward to ensure more efficient interface with the designer and the end user,” he said.

CDS Rawat further emphasised that COVID-19 has impacted the supply chain distribution including the defence sector. “India should have a robust defence manufacturing capacity which will not only ensure strategic interdependence but will also bring substantial revenue in making India modern, prosperous, and secure,” he added.