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Aatmanirbhar in Defence

  • IASbaba
  • November 27, 2021
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Nov 19: Aatmanirbhar in Defence– https://youtu.be/mDtVEoAFIcE 

TOPIC:

  • GS-3: Security

Aatmanirbhar in Defence

In News: To give a thrust to Aatmanirbhar Bharat in the defence sector, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, formally handed over indigenously designed and developed equipment to the Armed forces Service Chiefs. 

Some Recent developments –

  • HAL- designed and developed Light Combat Helicopter were handed over to the Chief of the Air Staff
  • Drones and UAVs designed and developed by Indian startups were given to the Chief of the Army Staff
  • DRDO designed and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) manufactured Advanced Electronic Warfare suite for naval ships were handed over to the Chief of Naval Staff 
  • Besides, the Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone of the Rs 400 crore project at Jhansi node of the UP Defence Industrial Corridor. 
  • In addition to Jhansi, the corridor has nodes at Agra, Aligarh, Chitrakoot, Lucknow and Kanpur. 
  • For the Jhansi Node, the state government has made nearly 1,034 hectares of land available. The facility will involve an investment of Rs 400 crore. 

Aatmanirbharta in Defence

A strong and well-equipped military provides a country the immunity to resist attack and thwart unprovoked aggression from external sources and deal with any kind of internal disturbance. It works as a defence mechanism and reflects the country’s military capability and capacity to defend itself against the hostile countries. 

Equipping the military with the latest technology and modernising the existing inventory of weapons and surveillance systems is therefore crucial for any country. India too needs to build a strong military force armed with all types of technologically advanced defence equipment to strengthen its security and intelligence and to secure its territorial integrity.

To maintain its regional autonomy: 

  • India needs to assert its presence and sovereignty over the border regions and for that, it needs to have modernised defence products and strategic autonomy over such defence products. 
  • This strategic autonomy can be achieved by having a self-reliant defence industry which would ultimately strengthen the Indian economy as well. 
  • It is the need of the hour to increase the indigenous defence production to meet the requirements of the armed forces along with putting lesser burden on the exchequer. 

To create a robust security framework: 

  • India requires an overhaul of its defence products to meet the current requisites of modern warfare. 
  • India needs to strengthen its surveillance system which requires inducting of modernised radars and drones so that suspicious activities and trespassing at the border areas could be detected at the earliest. 
  • India also needs to understand that it cannot always depend on the emergency purchases of defence equipment during the times of crises, which has been seen during the recent border clashes with Chinese troops and the rising tension along the northern borders. 
  • This has forced accelerated domestic and foreign purchase of weapons,2 however relying on the imports for emergency purchases leads to excessive spending.

Promoting investments in R&D and production in the defence sector

  • Will prove to be significant in enhancing the manufacturing of defence products and in creating employment opportunities. 
  • Will reduce dependency on imports which will lead to a reduction in the foreign exchange expenditure and enhance the level of operational preparedness considerably. 
  • Domestic manufacturing will promote the growth of many ancillary industries within the country and at the same time, it will generate a lot of revenue by exporting defence products to other countries. 
  • Restructuring of approximately 200-year-old Ordnance Factory Board into seven State-owned corporate entities in line with the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat would not only increase competitiveness, but will also improve quality, cost-efficiency while ensuring self-reliance in the defence sector. This will help in reducing the trade deficit as well. 
  • Defence Acquisition Procedure, DAP-2020 has aimed to bring into line and support the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan by focusing on self-reliance by boosting domestic manufacturing and encouraging private sector involvement.

The Way Forward

  1. A time-bound defence procurement process through
    1. Overhauling trial and testing procedures to speed up the procurement process 
    2. Establishing a professional project management unit
  2. Corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board. 
    1. OFBs structure, work culture and product range now need to be responsive to technology and quality demands of modern armed forces. 
    2. Corporatisation, including public listing of some units, ensures a more efficient interface of the manufacturer with the designer and end user
  3. Self-reliance should not be taken to extremes: Thrust for indigenous R&D should coexist with the import of cutting-edge military technologies to safeguard defence vulnerabilities
  4. Domestic Procurement: When we import weapon systems, we should plan for the ammunitions and spares for them to be eventually manufactured in India
  5. A long-term integrated perspective plan of the requirements of the armed forces is needed to give industry a clear picture of future requirements. 
  6. The definition of indigenisation itself needs to privilege technology over value or volume
  7. Export Promotion: Investment, Indian or foreign, will be viable only if the door to defence exports is opened, with a transparent policy. 
  8. Promoting indigenous research and development through tax incentives
  9. To give private industry a level playing field for developing defence technologies, conflicts of interest, created by the role of DRDO as the government’s sole adviser, developer and evaluator of technologies have to be addressed.

Can you answer the following questions?

  1. How significant will the UP Defence Industrial Corridor defence corridor be as we strive to achieve strategic independence? Examine.
  2. How has the journey of becoming self-realint in the defence sector been so far? Discuss.

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