Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

UPSC Civils Daily Mains Question 18th March-2021

Q) “Indigenous defence manufacturing of India is fraught with several challenges. Discuss. Also suggest steps required to overcome them.”

In order to promote self-reliance in defence production, the government has announced several measures under AtmaNirbhar Abhiyan. Though these steps are in the right direction, there are long-overdue reforms to make India truly self-reliant in defence manufacturing.

Challenges in Indigenous defence manufacturing:

  • Most of the government defence acquisition proposals from the past five years are in beginning stages
  • There has been a Poor design capability in critical technologies
  • The investment in R&D is inadequate 
  • The inability to manufacture major subsystems and components hamper the indigenous manufacturing.
  • The creation of a manufacturing base is capital and technology-intensive and has a long gestation period.
  • Stringent labour laws and lack of skills affects the development process further.
  • Overlapping jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Industrial Promotion impair India’s capability of defence manufacturing.

Measures to overcome challenges in defence manufacturing indigenously:

  • To avoid delays and speed up the defence procurement process the chief of defence staff could examine the defence acquisitions from a tri-service angle.
  • It is imperative that when India imports any weapon systems, there should be a plan for the ammunition and spares to be eventually manufactured in India so that we are not driven to seek urgent replenishments from abroad during crises.
  • To promote forward-looking strategic partnerships between Indian and foreign companies, with a view to achieving indigenization over a period of time for even sophisticated platforms the next Defence Procurement Procedure should incorporate guidelines related to it.
  • The role of DRDO should be revised, in order to give private industry a level playing field for developing defence technologies.

Self-reliance in defence manufacturing is a crucial component of effective defence capability and to maintain national sovereignty and achieve military superiority. The attainment of this will ensure strategic independence, cost-effective defence equipment and may lead to saving on defence import bill, which can subsequently finance the physical and social infrastructure.

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