Complete indigenisation of arms & ammunition must for 'Atmanirbhar Bharat': Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt

February 15, 2023 Photo(s): By PIB
Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt addressing at the Indian Navy-DDP seminar at Aero India 2023, in Bengaluru on February 15, 2023.

In line with the Government's policy to reduce foreign dependence and achieve self-reliance in defence, the Indian Navy, in collaboration with Department of Defence Production, conducted a seminar on the topic 'Atmanirbharta in Aero Armament Sustenance' during Aero India 2023 in Bengaluru on February 15, 2023. Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt was the Chief Guest of the seminar. He emphasised on complete indigenisation of arms and ammunition in the Armed Forces.

The Minister of State for Defence commended the response of the Armed Forces to the government's clarion call for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, also expressing satisfaction over the fact that many indigenous projects in the defence sector are being taken forward by DRDO, DPSUs and private industries. He stated that looking at the overwhelming response of the private industry, Ministry of Defence has come out with several policy decisions to encourage their participation for the progress of the nation. He stressed the need to work together to fulfil the goal which a strong and self-reliant India, as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In his address, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R. Hari Kumar said, “The contemporary security canvas is characterised by increasing uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity amongst nations, leading to a world of ‘permacrisis.’ In overcoming these challenges, among the instruments of national power, a well-equipped, technologically-enabled and efficiently supported modern military will remain critical.”

The Chief of the Naval Staff added that the Indian Navy has established a three-tier organisation under Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation to further synchronise and stimulate our collaboration with the industry. This seminar is organised to bring key stakeholders to a common platform, so that we can share our requirements and, listen to your constructive ideas, inputs and challenges.

The aim of the seminar was to highlight the opportunities and challenges involved in realising missile sustenance of the tri-services through Indian industry and to achieve the following three-fold objectives:

  • To highlight the scope of work in terms of various missiles held in the Indian Navy inventory proposed to be life extended and sustained in the coming years.
  • To emphasise the various advantages accrued by the private sector, in terms of understanding the nuances of sustaining missiles/armaments.
  • To discuss the technical expertise and resources available with various stake-holders within the country and take feedback from user, R&D labs, vendors and QA agencies on the opportunities and challenges towards realising missile sustenance for the tri-services through private industry.

The seminar provided a platform to key stakeholders from the MoD, User, maintainer, QA agencies, DRDO, DPSUs and the Indian industry to engage in detailed panel discussions on the Govt’s initiative and way-ahead for Industry partners to participate in taking on sustenance of missiles held with the Armed Forces.

Government’s clarion call for ‘Atmanirbharta’ has been responded well by both the Armed Forces and Indian industry towards achieving self-reliance in the area of defence production. Recent efforts in the designing & development of complete indigenous systems by private industries have yielded notable success and boosted confidence of private industry to take-on more projects. It has, thus, become essential for the Armed Forces to ensure maintenance and sustenance of the existing weapons and systems over the next few years of transition when the imported inventory will be phased out and replaced altogether with indigenous weapons.

Ministry of Defence had issued a policy in August 2022 on Life Extension and refurbishment of missiles for the three services through equal partnership between Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) and private industries in order to build greater momentum in indigenisation and for promoting a level playing field. Such a landmark policy opens several avenues to the private industry for partnerships with foreign OEMs, DRDO labs and DPSUs to fulfil the critical need of the Armed Forces in Life Extension, refurbishment, maintenance and sustenance of the existing inventory of foreign origin missiles.

Based on the experience/expertise gained by Indian Navy in undertaking Life Extension of missiles held in inventory, there is a need to provide detailed insight to industry partners on the work entailed in undertaking sustenance of missiles.

The day is not far when self-reliance in armaments is wholly realised and the focus would shift towards ensuring sustenance and upgradation of these indigenised armaments by concerted efforts of private industries spread across the Indian sub-continent. Therefore, the conduct of subject seminar is of utmost importance for realising Government’s vision of achieving Atmanirbharta in missile sustenance for the Armed Forces.