Thursday, July 25, 2024

‘Atmanirbharta’ In Defence Gets 3rd Shot In Arm With With New Indigenisation List; Industry Leaders Welcome The Landmark Policy

By Staff Correspondent

In a landmark policy decision to indigenise 101 more weapons and platforms to speed up ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced a third list comprising major equipment/platforms. These weapons and platforms promote the domestic industry and transform Research and Development (R&D) and manufacturing. “Our aim is to create an environment where public, private sector and foreign entities can work together and help India become one of the leading countries in defence manufacturing,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh explained.

The Defence Minister released the third positive indigenisation list of 101 items, comprising major equipment/platforms, in New Delhi on 7 April 2022. The list, notified by the Department of Military Affairs, Ministry of Defence (MoD), lays special focus on equipment/systems, which are being developed and likely to translate into firm orders in the next five years. These weapons and platforms are planned to be indigenised progressively with effect from December 2022 to December 2027. Henceforth, these 101 items will be procured from local sources as per Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020.

Another Step Towards “Complete Indigenisation”

The development follows the first list (101) and second list (108) promulgated on 21 August 2020 and 31 May 2021, respectively. Import substitution of ammunition, a recurring requirement, has been emphasised. The spirit behind issuing these three lists comprising 310 defence equipment slated to be manufactured locally reflects the Government’s growing confidence in the domestic industry’s capabilities that they can supply equipment of international standards to meet the demand of the Indian Armed Forces. It is likely to stimulate the potential of indigenous R&D by attracting new investment into technology and manufacturing capabilities. It will provide ample opportunities to the domestic industry for understanding the trends and future needs of the defence services.

The third list comprises highly complex systems, sensors, weapons and ammunitions like Light Weight Tanks, Mounted Arty Gun Systems (155mmX 52Cal), Guided Extended Range (GER) Rocket for PINAKA MLRS, Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH), Next Generation Offshore Patrol Vessels (NGOPV), MF STAR (Radar For Ships), Medium-Range Anti-Ship Missile (Naval Variant), Advance Light Weight Torpedo (Ship Launch), High Endurance Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Medium Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (MALE UAV), Anti-Radiation Missiles, Loitering Munitions. Their details are available on the MoD website.

Addressing the audience on occasion, the Raksha Mantri described the third list as a symbol of 360-degree efforts being made by the Government to achieve Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. He exuded confidence that this new list would prove crucial in developing the domestic industry and take the country’s research & development and manufacturing capacity to a higher level.

This third positive indigenisation list has been prepared after in-depth consultations with all stakeholders, such as the DRDO, Department of Defence Production (DDP), Service Headquarters (SHQs) and the private industry. Rajnath Singh assured that similar to the previous two lists, the third list’s time limit will also be adhered to. He said the Ministry of Defence and the Service headquarters will take all necessary steps, including handholding the industry, reiterating the Government’s endeavour to create an ecosystem that ensures self-reliance in defence manufacturing and encourages exports.

The DRDO, too, pitched in to strengthen local manufacturing by signing 30 Transfer of Technology (ToT) agreements with 25 industries. The Defence Minister handed over the arrangements on 21 technologies developed by 16 DRDO laboratories spread across the country. These technologies concern Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG), developed by a DRDO Young Scientist Lab (DYSL- QT, Pune), Counter Drone System, Laser Directed Energy Weapon System, Missile Warhead, High Explosive Materials, High-Grade Steel, Specialised Materials, Propellants, Surveillance & Reconnaissance, Radar Warning Receivers, CBRN UGVs, Mine Barriers, Fire Fighting Suits, Boots for Anti Mine, etc. So far, DRDO has entered into more than 1,430 ToT agreements with Indian industries, out of which a record number of around 450 ToT agreements have been signed in the last two years.

Defence Minister Lauds Domestic Stakeholders, Paves Way For “New India”

Congratulating DRDO and the Industry, Rajnath Singh said the handing over of 30 ToT agreements to the industry shows the increasing trust of Indian industries in DRDO-developed indigenous technologies. This will further strengthen the manufacturing ecosystem in defence systems and platforms, he said, expressing hope that the private sector will make full use of the opportunities given to them by the government to make India a global defence manufacturing hub.

Listing out the measures taken by the government to maximise the participation of the domestic industry, the Defence Minister said, 68 per cent of the capital procurement budget has been earmarked for domestic procurement to promote self-reliance & reduce import dependency. The other measures include the earmarking of 25 per cent of the defence R&D budget for the industry, start-ups and academia, and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).

Rajnath Singh pointed out that despite hurdles, India has always performed exceptionally well, on its own, in areas such as nuclear technology and space technology, due to the grit and determination of its scientists & researchers. With the same resolve, he added that India will soon transform into a global manufacturing hub that caters to domestic requirements, besides being a dominant force in the international market. 

The Defence Minister described the three lists as a self-imposed vow which can pave the way for a strong and self-reliant ‘New India’. He underscored the importance of self-reliance in defence production and promoting exports, terming it as a crucial aspect that strengthens the economy and national security, besides improving its socio-economic condition.

Indigenisation Ensures OPSEC

The Defence Minister called for indigenous development of defence equipment and platform technologies, stressing that importing systems with foreign software codes can prove dangerous for the security apparatus as it opens the window of vulnerability. Emphasising the need to focus more on indigenisation, he said, “Today, the scope of defence is not limited to borders only. Anyone can now break into the security system of a country with the help of different communication methods. No matter how strong the system is, if it is linked to another country, there is a possibility of a security breach. Earlier, defence equipment, such as tanks and helicopters, was mainly mechanical. It was not possible to control them. But, newer defence systems and platforms are electronic and software-intensive. They can be controlled or subverted from anywhere.”

Stressing on domestic production of ammunition as it ensures uninterrupted supply during wars, Rajnath Singh appreciated the fact that full attention has been paid to the import substitution of ammo in the first two positive indigenisation lists. He said that when orders for defence items are given to the domestic defence industry, it provides employment to lakhs of people working in MSMEs connected to the sector, spread across the country.

Rajnath Singh maintained that self-reliance does not mean working in isolation from the rest of the world but working with their active participation within the country. “Even under ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’, we have provisions which provide suitable opportunities and environment to foreign companies to invest, collaborate, set up joint ventures and earn a profit,” he said. The Raksha Mantri reaffirmed the Government’s constant endeavour to create an environment where public, private sector and foreign entities can work together and help India become one of the world’s leading countries in defence manufacturing.

India’s Security Leaders Share ‘Indigenous’ Stage

Raksha Rajya Mantri Ajay Bhatt, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar, Vice Chief of the Army Staff Lieutenant General Manoj Pande, Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy, other senior civil and military officials of MoD and representatives of the industry were present on occasion.

On 25 February 2022, during a post-budget webinar, ‘Aatmanirbharta in Defence: Call to Action’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appreciated the indigenisation efforts of MoD and announced that the third positive indigenisation list will be promulgated soon.

How Have Domestic Defence Industry Leaders Responded? 

SP Shukla, the President of the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), welcomed this development explaining, “The third Positive Indigenisation List comes at a strategically important time. Given the current geopolitical scenario, the importance of being self-reliant in defence production is more apparent than ever, and the industry is well poised to manufacture thE 101 items indigenously and enhance the operational readiness of our forces. We welcome this reform with enthusiasm!”

Jayant Patil, SIDM’s Immediate Past President, offered his take saying, “This Positive Indigenisation List reaffirms the Government of India’s unwavered trust in the capability of the Indian Defence Industry. The three lists provide a shot in the arm to the domestic defence industry to realise the Aatmanirbhar vision of our Prime Minister, build a strong India and attain strategic independence in foreign policy-a much-desired aim for all nations in the current global geopolitical situation,”

SIDM’s Founding President, Baba Kalyani, said, “The Indian Defence Industry has been galvanised by the path-breaking policy reforms introduced by the Ministry of Defence in recent years. The third Positive Indigenisation List is another step in this direction and is warmly welcomed by the industry. I thank the Honourable Raksha Mantri Ji and the Ministry of Defence for reposing this trust in the Indian Industry.”


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