Armed forces committed to hand-hold domestic defence industry: Gen Rawat

India’s armed forces are committed to hand-hold the domestic industry in developing next generation military platforms and equipment to make the country self reliant in defence manufacturing, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat said on Thursday.

In an address at a seminar on promoting the domestic defence industry, Gen Rawat said nothing will give the armed forces greater satisfaction than fighting and coming out victorious in wars with indigenous technology and equipment.

India has been facing numerous security threats and challenges and they are going to increase manifold in the future, Gen Rawat said, adding that the country has the capability to deal with them.

“Nothing will give us greater satisfaction than fighting and coming out victorious in wars with indigenous technology and equipment,” said the chief of defence staff, adding that the armed forces do not have any bias towards imported equipment.

Gen Rawat also elaborated on various policy initiatives by the government to promote the domestic defence industry and said the strength of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) should be be utilised in bringing out new equipment and technologies.

“The armed forces are committed to hand-hold the industry,” he said.

The government has already outlined its broad roadmap to make India a hub of defence manufacturing and has been taking policy initiatives to promote the domestic defence industry.

On August 9, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced that India will stop import of 101 weapons and military platforms like transport aircraft, light combat helicopters, conventional submarines, cruise missiles and sonar systems by 2024.

In a related development, the DRDO on Monday identified 108 military systems and subsystems like navigation radars, tank transporters and missile canisters for the domestic industry to design, develop and manufacture.

The premier organisation said it will also provide support to industries for design, development and testing of these systems on a requirement basis.

It has set a target of next year in developing the 108 systems and subsystems.

India is one the largest importers of arms globally. According to estimates, the Indian armed forces are projected to spend around USD 130 billion in capital procurement in the next five years. The government now wants to reduce dependence on imported military platforms and has decided to support the domestic defence manufacturing.

The Defence Ministry has set a goal of a turnover of USD 25 billion (Rs 1.75 lakh crore) in defence manufacturing in the next five years that includes an export target of USD 5 billion (Rs 35,000 crore) worth of military hardware.