The Bold Voice of J&K

Atma Nirbhar Bharat Initiative Indefence

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Lt Gen VG Khandare (Retired)

Any aspiring nation must set its vision and all the citizens would have to be equally responsible stake holders and contributors to the achievement of the desired vision, mission and objectives. Such a commitment should cut across all fault lines within the nation. India is not alien to this fact, history is replete with illustrations of India’s grandeur and the invasions to plunder its wealth. There were many looting campaigns victimising India, each worse than the other, degradeing India’s wealth of knowledge, goods, institutions and selfesteem. The most important reason for India beingen slaved for centuries was its neglect on security, incorrect assessments of the intent of the invaders and colonial powers and internal cohesion being weak. India in 2024 is looking ahead with the national vision outlined by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, focused to be a ‘Viksit and Surakshit Desh’ i.e. A Developed and Secure Nation by 2047, a timeline synchronised with 100 years of her Independence from the UK; this European Imperialist proved to be the dismantling power of Indian economy and security arrangement. From being 27% global GDP contributor in early 1700 CE when the British East India Company entrenched itself here, India crashed down to barely 3% global GDP contributor in 1940s when the exploiters finally left India. The Colonial power could not destroy Indian desire and spirit to be reborn, India’s existence is of thousands of years of heritage and history establishing it as a rich cultural civilisation. The East India Company was formed in 1600 CE initiating the Unmaking of India by force, manipulation and enslavement in all domains of daily life in all segments of society. The end result was the exploitation and manipulation of the local systems and minds to leverage dependence of every common man, and indigenous institution on the British Crown. The attitude exchanged from civilisational pride to an era of self doubt and self criticism. Aping the West became the accepted norm. After over seven decade so far in dependence, a wave of resurgence to grow and be secure has been reborn. Hon’ble PM since 2014 initiated the Make in India mission symbolised by the Lion with gears, pulleys and machinery inside. The mission has initiated numerous changes to empower Self reliance in India that is Bharat. Coming to power with a falling Rupee between 2011 and 2013, the new Govt reformed the governance mechanism in pursuance to its vision of making India rise again. Fuelled by success from 2014 to 2019, by becoming a 2 trillion US $ economy from an inherited 1 Trillion US $ economy in 2014, the PM called for a growth trajectory quantifiably aimed at a US $ 5 Trillion economy by 2024 as announced by him from the ramparts of Red Fort on 15 Aug 2019. The COVID Pandemic of 2020-21 initiated from China coupled with the Chinese military LAC standoff, adversely impacted our national growth momentum. Despite these stumbling blocks India is marching on to achieve the 5 Trillion mark soon. Make in India that is Atma Nirbhar Mission is meant for all Ministries and encompasses the sum total of public and private sector has been a great reform in the defence sector. From the mentality of boasting as being one of the greatest importers of military hardware, India is moving to Make in India for itself and for the world. The current geopolitical world order is in a state of uncertainty and increasing disorder with Russia- Ukraine Kinetic Conflict, the radical HAMAS-Israel conflict, uncertain typrevalent between China and Taiwan and multiple flash points due to the West promoting its agenda which is stonewalled and challenged by the resistant Russia, expansionist China, fiercely resilient Iran and the economically manipulated weak nations of the world. The situation is compounded by the evil issues of drugs proliferation, transnational terrorism, engineered asylum seekers, unfortunate refugees and ideology driven radicalisation. There are issues of climate change, poverty, health, cyber espionage-attacks, misinformation-disinformation, biochemical attacks etc which continue to disturb the world. In this era of turbulence and uncertainty India has confidently embarked on the Atma Nirbharta journey in multiple Ministries of which the Ministry of Defence is also an integral part. The reare multiple initiatives being acted upon to translate the vision into execution. Policy directives like DPP2016 and DAP2020 issued and in use. Structural changes-creation of the appointment of CDS and DMA as a vertical. Functional transformation-an intense study resulted in removal of Ordnance Factory Board and Corporatisation of Ordnance Factories to convert the 41 factories into seven DPSUs. Modernisation of the sentities is in progress. The DPSUs are challenged to modernise and improve the work culture for delivering quality products, at competitive pricing, timely delivery and with assured post sales service. DPSUs are already exporting their products and earning precious foreign exchange. Private sector is encouraged by users hand holding from inception stage to delivery stage. Defence Exports surged from Rs 686 crores in FY2013-14 to Rs 16,000 CR IN 2022-23 and is expected to cross Rs 20,000 Cr in a few months. This is in relentless pursuit of the Hon’ble PM star get assignment of 5 billion $ worth of exports to be achieved. India is engaged with nearly 85 countries in defence exports. Major indigenous content in hardware and platforms. INS Vikrant (aircraft carrier), Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, Main Battle Tank Arjun, K9 Vajra tracked artillery gun, submarines, ships, boats, helicopters, drones, Electronic Warfare systems, missiles, rockets, Transport aircraft, radar set care being indigenously being manufactured.Joint Ventures model is preferred for international collaboration – BRAMHOS, AK 203 Rifle. Encouraged innovations through Start Ups and MSME with IDEX Challenges of which Indian Navy initiated the “Swavalamban” event with Hon’ble PM throwing open 75 maritime challenges to the Indian brains during DefExpo inJun 2022 followedby 75 Defence Space challenges in Oct 2022 again thrown open by Hon’ble PM. This is in addition to a series of DISC Challenges. Armed Forces promulgated five Positive Lists with 509 items and four positive lists were issued by DPSUs. These items are to be bought from indigenous manufacturers. 75% budgetary provisions are earmarked for capital acquisitions of indigenous products. Assured provision has been made for 25% Defence R&D budget. Def Expo and Aero India patronized Indian brand companies, MSMEs, Start Ups and academia. The Indian Embassies now host conferences, exhibitions and advertise Indian defence products, initiate technology and partner discovery in countries of choice. Dedicated Defence Corridors are set up in UP and Tamilnadu thus attracting an ecosystem in close proximity to build robust supply chain resilience. Process simplification for industry setting up and generating exports has been done. Enhancing opportunities for innovation through IDEX is in progress with initiative of Dept of Def Production. DRDO fusion with industry partners for technology discovery and to fruitfully utilise Technology Development Fund is the focus.Transferring technology (TOT) developed or acquired by DRDO to Indian Start Ups, MSMEs and established big defence manufacturers at a nominal cost is happening. MOUs of private sector with Dept of Def Production and DRDO, are being done thus encouraging user-innovator- manufacturer- financer interaction across the table. Setting up design, develop, market search entities in Services are established. DGQA reforms have been initiated and are being implemented. Promoting the concept of research and product designing with academia at multiple levels is paying off. States and UTs are facilitated to promote Defence technology research, encourage designing, developing prototype and manufacturing components – products. Critical technology attracting initiatives are in vogue through multiple engagement lines with friendly technology powers. To achieve timely results towards Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission over a sustained period the key issue is synergy between users, designers, developers, manufacturers, policymakers and financiers. Every citizen is a stakeholder in the growth of India to be a Viksit and Surakshit Desh by 2047.
(The writer is Ex DGDIA and presently
Principle Advisor MoD).

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