self reliance essential

Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided on Sunday. It took stock of security preparedness in view of Western sanctions on Russia over Ukraine war and border dispute with China in eastern Ladakh. In this meeting, the Prime Minister emphasized the use of modern technology with self-reliance in the defense sector. India has border disputes with both Pakistan and China and is under pressure from strong defense preparedness along the borders with both so that it can deal with any challenge. On the other hand, 70 percent of India’s defense equipment is Russian-made. Western countries have imposed several sanctions on Russia over the attack on Ukraine, which fears that its defense deals with India and arms supplies will be affected. This difficulty cannot be overcome in a very short time, but the government can achieve this goal in the long run. There can be two ways for this. First, buy weapons from other countries. This will diversify supply and reduce dependence on Russia. Initiatives are also being taken in this direction. The government has made a deal for Rafale fighter jets from France and Predator drones with America. In the last few years, India has also increased arms purchases from Israel. Second, India should make more and more weapons of its need in the country. Government is also taking initiative in this direction. Private companies are being made partners, but the country has a long way to go in this matter. India has very few achievements in the matter of indigenous weapons. In the Cabinet Committee on Security, the Prime Minister mentioned about the use of latest technology in the defense sector, efforts have been made by the Ministry of Defense in that direction. The ministry wants private sector companies to play an important role in weapons like high powered laser weapons, hypersonic glide vehicles and medium lift helicopters. They can work closely with public sector companies for these projects. The Defense Ministry has identified 18 such projects, of which 14 have been placed in the ‘Make 1’ category. The special thing about this category of projects is that the government bears up to 70 percent of their development cost. Also, if these weapons meet all the standards, then the army will buy them in pre-determined quantities. This is a big deal. Due to this, the interest of private sector companies may increase as the risk for them will be reduced significantly. If the government gives proper incentives to the private sector and ensures the accountability of public sector companies, then good progress can be achieved in the direction of self-reliance in the defense sector.