[Answered] Revitalizing public R&D could transform innovation, and give meaning to our doctrine of strategic autonomy. Elucidate.

Introduction: Write down a contextual introduction.
Body: Highlight the need for investing in defense R&D.

Way forward: write some suggestions

A recent Parliamentary Standing Committee report says that India spends too little on defence research and development (R&D). The US at around $780 billion is 40 per cent of world spending on defence, China ($250 billion) is 13 per cent, followed by India ($72 billion) at 4 per cent. Defence R&D activity in India is primarily driven by Government establishments like DRDO labs, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).


  • The R&D budget is too small by any standard compared to major military spenders across the world thats why India lags behind in building a credible and capable domestic defence industry.
  • C&AG report, 2011 to the Parliament, highlighted the 90% import dependency of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for raw materials and other items for the production of indigenous equipment.
  • The imbalance in R&D spending has led to a “technological asymmetry” between India and its rivals. China has a stellar military industrial complex because China invested in research and we did not.
  • The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported that India was the world’s second-largest importer of major arms in 2014-18 and accounted for 9.5% of the global total.
  • Investment in R&D can lead to opening up of new industries as manufacturing hubs for defence procurement and thus create employment for a lot of people in various sectors like designing, manufacturing, innovating, etc.

Way forward:

  • should aim to increase the export capability to attract funding for indigenisation equipment.
  • There should be a level playing field for the private sector along with DRDO and OFB, and more administrative and financial autonomy should be given to DRDO and satellite organizations for their effective working.
  • Self-reliance in defence is one of the crucial components of effective defence capability for the country and also important to attain strategic autonomy.
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