Government Pushes For High-Tech Defence Equipment Manufacture In India
NEW DELHI: Giving a thrust to its ambitious flagship programme of “Make in India”, the Modi government will encourage private sector participation to ensure indigenous production of fighter aircraft, helicopters, submarines, armoured fighting vehicles and main battle tanks, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said here.
In his media briefing after a meeting of the Union Cabinet, Mr. Jaitley said the Cabinet was informed of the proposal of the Defence ministry for going ahead with such a move.
Under the “Strategic Partnership” model, the government will shortlist and then pick Indian companies to collaborate with foreign firms to supply fighter jets, helicopters, and such high-tech equipment, Mr Jaitley said. “For each platform, one private sector strategic partner will be chosen”.
Mr. Jaitley said the Cabinet took “full report” about strategic partnership model from the Defence Ministry. A special committee had made some recommendations regarding some sub sectors — helicopters, armoured vehicles, submarines, fighter aircraft, and tanks. These platforms will be manufactured under the government’s flagship “Make in India” programme and one private sector strategic partner for each of these sector will be chosen.
“We will start building up capacities of private sector companies in defence manufacturing, Private and foreign companies will co-exist with defence PSUSs,” Mr. Jaitley said. He said the strategic partnership process would begin as soon as possible adding that the government funding in defence sector was going to increase substantially.
The new long-awaited policy, which was developed through extensive stakeholder consultations with Indian industry, envisages the establishment of long-term strategic partnerships with qualified Indian industry majors through a transparent and competitive process wherein the Indian industry partners would tie up with global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to seek technology transfers and manufacturing know-how to set up domestic manufacturing infrastructure and supply chains.
The policy will give a boost to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet ‘Make in India’ programme in the Defence sector and set Indian industry on the path to acquiring cutting-edge capabilities which will contribute to the building of self-reliance in the vital sector of national security requirements.
In future, additional segments may be added. Appropriate institutional mechanisms will be set in place to implement the policy. Mr. Jaitley said the policy aimed at encouraging manufacturing as the selected companies would be assured of future orders. Several foreign manufacturing giants like Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Saab have indicated their willingness to explore the possibility of setting up manufacturing bases in India.