The import-indigenous ratio of military hardware can be turned around to 70 percent homegrown against the current 70 percent imports through incremental steps over the next five years, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said.
“Annually, you reduce the foreign component by 10 percent so that in four to five years, you reverse the ratio – from 70 percent import you go to 70 percent indigenous content” Parrikar told noted security expert Nitin Gokhale, who has just launched BharatShakti.in, in an interview.
“It is not easy to change mindsets. But the armed forces have been given clear indication that they have to give priority to Make in India and indigenisation and dependence on foreign source should be reduced. Of course, if there are some technology issues, we can still go ahead and get that but the trend is that by next year the ratio of 70:30 (imported to indigenous content) should change by at least 10 percent,” Parrikar said.
In this context, he noted that in a major boost to Make in India, almost 70 percent of defence contracts worth Rs.90,000 crore ($13.5 billion) signed in the past one year, fall in the Buy Indian or Buy and Make in India category.
“Amongst the major issues that he has addressed are issues that have the MSME sector vexed with the government stating its intention of selecting strategic partners in various major sectors of defence production. His remarks will ease a lot of ruffled feathers,” Gokhale said in a statement.
Amongst other issues are a new promotion policy for the top military leadership, how far is it from the Rafale deal being inked, DRDO, the road map for HAL’s Light Combat Aircraft, the fifth generation fighter aircraft project with Russian, submarines and the army’s continuing officer shortage. He also shared his views on OROP and the scheduled DEFEXPO at Goa.
“The interview is an informative and a comprehensive account of the RM’s thrusts so far and prognosis of what India will do with its US$ 100 billion wallet for military modernisation in the next few years,” Gokhale said.