From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Indigenous developments
Mains level : Self reliant in defence Industry
- Defence-Expo 2022 held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat in October drew attention to a major policy initiative, the need for India to acquire the appropriate degree of “atma nirbharata” (self-reliance) in the defence sector and the arduous path ahead.
What is the present status of defence supplies in India?
- High dependency on foreign supply: Even as India aspires to become a $5-trillion economy, it is evident that it faces many national security inadequacies. The high dependency index on foreign suppliers (traditionally the former USSR now Russia) for major military inventory items is stark.
- Risk of National vulnerability: This dependency induces a macro national vulnerability and dilutes India’s quest for meaningful and credible strategic autonomy.
- Undermining national interest: Furthermore, the current gaps in combat capacity expose the chinks in the Indian ability to safeguard core national security interests. The Galwan setback apropos China is illustrative.
Do you know the following examples of Indigenous defence production?
- INS Vikrant: The commissioning of the indigenously-designed and built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.
- SLBM Missiles: The recent test fired SLBM (submarine-launched ballistic missile) from the INS Arihant is indigenously bulit.
- LCH Prachand: The induction of the made in India Prachand LCH (light combat helicopter) is significant leap.
- Kalashnikov-type light weapon: The conclusion of a deal with Russia to manufacture a Kalashnikov-type light weapon/small arms in India.
- 155mm artillery Gun: The 155-mm artillery guns being designed and manufactured in the country.
Current scenario of India’s Defence export
- Rising defence export: India’s defence exports have grown eight times in the last five years.
- Exporting the defence material to 75 nations: India is exporting defence materials and equipment to more than 75 countries of the world. In 2021-22, defence exports from India reached $1.59 billion (about Rs 13,000 crore).
- Target of $5 billion export: The government has now set a target of $5 billion (Rs 40,000 crore).” This is an ambitious target and will demand mission-mode resolve to be realised.
Why our defence industry is not competitive at global stage?
- Import of critical components: India does not yet have the domestic competence to fully design and manufacture any significant combat weapon/platform and is dependent on the foreign supplier for the critical components that lie at the core of the combat index of the equipment in question.
- Partial methods of indigenous manufacturing: While it is commendable that India is now going to manufacture the C295 transport aircraft in a collaboration with AirBus, France, the reality is that the engine, avionics, landing gear, etc, will come from abroad and the integration will be done by the Indian entity.
- Soft defence export: While India now claims that it will soon become a major arms exporter, the composition of such inventory leans towards the “soft” category (clothing, helmets, surveillance equipment).
- No major defence manufacturing hub: India missed the industrial design and manufacturing bus, a national competence demonstrated by nations like South Korea and China, over the last five decades. Technological advances have made the design and manufacture of the semiconductor chip the new currency of national prosperity and military power.
Ways to make India’s defence industry globally competitive?
- Increasing the investment in R&D is necessary: At the heart of this challenge is the grim reality that historically, India has not invested enough in the national research and development (R&D) effort. As per data collated by the World Bank, India has been able to allocate only 0.66 per cent of GDP (2018) towards R&D, while the world average is 2.63 per cent.
- Matching with the Global players in R&D: The comparable individual R&D allocation (per cent of GDP) for some other nations is as follows: Israel 5.44; USA 3.45; Japan 3.26; Germany 3.14; China 2.4; and Turkey 1.09.
- Making the R&D prior national issue: Providing a sustained fillip to the national R&D effort across the board (state, corporate and academia) remains critical if India is to emerge as a credible military power and one would identify this as a high-priority issue for the national security apex the CCS (cabinet committee on security).
Read this news Defence- Expo 2022
- India’s flagship exhibition on land, naval and homeland security systems.
- Defence-Expo 2022 was the 12th edition, held in Gandhinagar, Gujrat
- Largest participation with 75 countries so far.
- A milestone under Atmanirbhar Bharat policy.
- The push to achieve self-reliance in defence is commendable. India must step up R&D to achieve competence in design, manufacture of combat weapons/platforms. Meaningful indigenisation and credible “atma nirbharta” calls for sustained funding support, fortitude and an ecosystem that will nurture this effort.
Q. Discuss the current state of indigenous defence production in India? Why Indian defence industry is not Globally competitive?
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