Context

  •  A few months ago, the government of India put out its long-awaited “Strategic Partnership” policy for defense production.

What is policy aimed at?

  •  This policy is aimed at spurring private sector participation in defense manufacturing in India.
  •  The government will identify one Indian private entity as a strategic partner to manufacture one major system: single-engine fighter aircraft, helicopters, submarines, and armored vehicles.
  •  The chosen companies, in turn, can set up joint ventures with foreign companies to produce these systems.
  •  Strategic partnerships with select Indian firms have long been regarded as essential to enabling significant private sector participation in defense manufacturing.

Arms Act, 1959

Arms Act, 1959

Failure of Public sector

  •  The idea reflects the failures of the public sector, the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Defense Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).
  •  The failure to create a defense industrial base that can cater to the needs of the Indian Armed Forces.

Reorganizing national security

India’s approach to reorganizing national security

Why India is lagging behind in defence production?

If we compare India with that of US or Russia or even China, we are way behind because of:

  • Lack of Funding according to the need/requirement. They allocate more defense budget.
  • Lack of Technology required – They have more skilled persons carrying out the research out of touch from politics.
  • Quality of Quantity problem – US & Russia are arms exporters, hence they have well made strategies for production and exports, whereas we are in transition state.
  • Though the government has emphasised private firms and public-private partnerships, the Indian defence industry continues to be dominated by the public sector.
  • The armed forces are no longer among the coveted career option for the young especially urban Indians
  • The public sector was unable to cope with the increasing operational requirements of our armed forces.
  • Imports contribute 75% of India’s defence equipment needs; the domestic private sector’s share is just 5%
  • Huge lobbying efforts from countries like Israel and Russia sometimes make bureaucrats and commanders to prefer foreign weapons over indigenous ones.
  • The inefficiency of DRDO units/public sector undertakings (PSUs), cumbersome procurement processes, adversarial inter-ministerial relationships, corruption-plagued history, unrealistic technical specifications and lack of accountability.

Navy’s capability

  •  The successful completion of this project underscored the importance of the navy’s organic capability for design.
  • This capability had been built systematically from 1951 onward. In 1957, the navy began to recruit naval architects from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and sending them to Britain for a two-year “Long Naval Architecture Course”.
  •  By contrast the army and the air force did not build up a cadre of in-house design specialists.
  • From the outset, the army relied on the ordnance factories and later the DRDO to perform these functions.
  • The air force had some rudimentary capability in the early years, but gave up its designers to the DPSUs.
  • For another, the lack of such capacity directly contributed to the inordinate delay in both these projects.
  • In the absence of a design interface between the users and developers, it proved exceedingly difficult to reconcile their competing views and imperatives of the users and the designers.

 

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