By Staff Correspondent
India has long been a key player in global geopolitics, boasting a substantial defence budget. However, despite this, the country remains one of the largest defence importers worldwide. To address this, the Indian government has taken several steps in recent years to promote domestic technology and self-sufficiency, such as the Defence Production Policy of 2018 (DPrP-2018), ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, and Mission DefSpace. As a result, defence outlay and exports have surged eightfold over the past five years, with India now exporting defence equipment to over 75 countries.
Missile technology has been a particular area of focus for India, with the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) having successfully developed five missiles, including the Prithvi, Agni, Akash, Trishul, and Nag, under the Integrated Guided Missiles Development Programme (IGMDP). As missile technology requires constant upgrading to meet India’s security requirements, active participation of the private sector is crucial. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 2020 released an import embargo list that included missiles, with the aim of promoting indigenous production and self-reliance.
To this end, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has partnered with private companies, such as Carborundum Universal Limited (CUMI), to build production capability and leverage expertise. CUMI, a DSIR-approved R&D unit, has signed a Transfer of Technology (ToT) agreement with DRDO’s Research Centre Imarat (RCI) laboratory for the manufacture of ceramic radomes.
The company has also worked with leading institutions on sponsored projects and technology commercialisation through ToTs. Their efforts have resulted in the development of niche technologies such as nano-crystalline diamond coating technology, thin-film coating technology for aerospace and defence applications, and light-weight ceramics for body/vehicle armour. They are currently in the process of developing solid-oxide fuel cell technology and solid oxide electrolyser technology.
The potential for missile technology to revolutionise defence capabilities and make India self-sufficient cannot be overstated. The success of companies like CUMI in developing cutting-edge technologies is a testament to India’s potential in the field. With the private sector actively contributing to the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat, India is on the path to becoming a self-reliant and globally competitive exporter of defence equipment.