New Delhi. 09 September 2020. General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff, Ministry of Defence said that as India grows in her stature, the security challenges will rise proportionately in the same direction. “India’s aspirations of being a regional power can no longer be held hostage to arms import,” he said.
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 also stated that it is imperative for us 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,” said General Rawat.
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 govt 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, he noted.
“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,” stated General Rawat.
He also said that we need 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,” added General Rawat.
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 emphasized.
P Harish, Additional Secretary (ER), Ministry of External Affairs said that the Indian government is activating defence production and has streamlined the whole process of controls. He also said that we need to look at a cooperative partnership between the private and the public sector. Harish also assured the industry of full support and said that defence diplomacy plays an important role in boosting Indian defence sector. “We need to look at it as ‘Team India’ and not as private sector versus public sector undertaking,” he added.
Yaduvendra Mathur, Former Special Secretary, NITI Aayog & Former CMD, Exim Bank of India said that private sector should consider Exim Bank’s Overseas Investment Finance scheme in order to tap the international market.
Sanjay Jaju, Joint Secretary (DIP), Ministry of Defence said that the lines of credit are open for both the public and private sectors. We are ready to roll out $ 2 bn every year depending on the requirements of the host countries. He further added that government approach in promoting industry for exports by facilitating the EODB and projecting One India at international events.
Neeraj Gupta, Managing Director, MKU Limited said that the government should extend the lines of credit to more and more countries especially in the area of defence exports. This will act as an enabler for our defence exports, he said.
Arun T Ramchandani, Co-Chair, FICCI Defence & Aerospace Committee and EVP, Guns Missiles & Armoured Systems (GMA) BU, L&T Defence said that in order to achieve the defence export target, there is a need to develop smart strategies and a dedicated National Defence Exports mission to catalyse defence exports.
Sudhakar Gande, Co-Chairman, FICCI Defence & Aerospace Committee and CEO, Jupiter Capital Pvt Ltd, Non-Executive Director, AXISCADES Engineering Technologies Limited said in order to have a stronger defence export market, we need to have a strong domestic defence industry. He added that to achieve the PM’s target of US$ 5 billion defence exports in next 5 years we need to have continuous path breaking policies.