Modi invokes a confident, “New India” mindset in defence - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Stuff.

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Friday, 28 August 2020

Modi invokes a confident, “New India” mindset in defence



By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 28th Aug 20

 

In an unscheduled appearance at a Ministry of Defence (MoD) webinar that even caught Defence Minister Rajnath Singh by surprise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered an 18-minute speech on Thursday, talking up the government’s “self reliant India” policy in defence and urging private industry to play a larger role.

 

“For many years, India has been the world’s biggest importer of defence equipment,” said Modi, blaming it on the failure of earlier governments. This, he said was changing, repeatedly invoking the confidence of a “New India”. 

 

“When India got independence, it had enormous capability as a defence producer. At that time, there was a defence production eco-system that had been established more than a century earlier,” said Modi.

 

In fact, only the most rudimentary defence production facilities existed at independence: a handful of ordnance factories that produced low-tech stores such as clothing and ammunition; and a couple of shipyards with no ability to build modern warships.

 

“There were very few countries that had the capabilities and potential that India had. But it is India’s misfortune that, for decades, nobody gave this matter the attention it deserved… And many countries that started after us overtook us and went far ahead in the last half century,” said Modi.

 

“But now, the situation is changing. You would have experienced that, in the last few years, it has been our effort to throw off the shackles in this sector,” he said. 

 

Modi laid claim to a list of achievements: more manufacturing, new technologies, and a larger role for the private sector. “We have reformed the licensing norms in defence manufacturing, created a level playing field, simplified export procedures, reformed offset rules and many other such measures,” said Modi.

 

“I believe that, even more important than these reforms is that we are all experiencing a new mindset towards defence issues in the country. A new mindset has been born,” said the Prime Minister.

 

“For creating a modern and self-reliant India, it is essential to have an attitude of self-confidence in the sphere of defence. For a long time, the country had been considering having a Chief of Defence Staff, but nobody was able to take a decision. This decision emblemizes the self-confidence of the New India,” he said.

 

“For a long time, foreign investment was not permitted in defence production. It started being permitted during the Atal (Behari Vajpayee) government. After our government came in there was further liberalisation and now, for the first time, we are opening the doors for 74 per cent FDI in this sector under the automatic route. This is because of the self-confidence of the New India,” said Modi.

 

“For decades, Ordnance Factories were run like government departments… Now we are moving towards corporatizing these factories… This is a manifestation of the self-confidence of the New India,” said Modi.

 

Modi said the defence ministry was encouraging co-production through joint ventures with foreign partners. “Because of the size of the Indian market, production in India is the best option for our foreign partners,” he stated. 

 

“Our government has worked to the mantra of ‘reform, perform and transform.’ It has been our endeavour to eliminate red tape and spread the red carpet,” said Modi.

 

The PM stated that the entire world had seen India’s reforms, listing out the fields of Intellectual Property, taxation, insolvency and bankruptcy; and even in difficult spheres such as space and atomic energy.

 

“We are also moving ahead on labour law reform. These reforms are not going to stop; they will continue,” said Modi.

 

Rajnath Singh said the MoD had allocated Rs 52,000 crore from the defence capital budget for domestic procurement. 

  

The CDS, General Bipin Rawat, said that a large number of additional items would be added to the “no-import list” of 101 items. “The list is going to increase, and we will have the next list by early next year… Gradually, as we see the private industry delivering, we will keep on adding more items to the list.”




10 comments:

  1. This is pure politics at its best. Why do you think Modi is making big news of heavily publicizing “made in India” while at the same time he is buying tonnes of high prized foreign made items to make himself look strong domestically?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I disagree with the blanket statement:" most rudimentary defence production facilities existed at independence: a handful of ordnance factories that produced low-tech stores such as clothing and ammunition... ".
    In fact, in the 1950s, India was manufacturing Gnats which successfully shot down Pak's Sabre jets (of US origin) in the1965 war. Gnats in those years were in its category one of the best interceptors in the world. In my understanding, the present-day Tejas are "modernized" versions of the same technical expertise. In Ichapore in Bengal there was a factory of manufacturing rifles used by Indian soldiers fighting in the 1962 war. India was also building Frigates with input from the British which in that era served well in the Indian Navy.
    Modi's talk is just bravado trying to blame others as a diversionary tactic to cover his glaring cowardice to counter Chinese aggression in Ladakh where strategic territory has been given up to China with the loss of 100s of sq kms of Indian sovereignty. Modi has been at the helm already for five years and why is he waking up now to fight out China?.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A lot of people may disagree but Modi govt done much batter in defence area compared to congress. May not be as effective what we have anticipated but still a lot has been done. This import list ban is a good move i think.I think tbis will give a big confidence boost to private sector that govt is serious enough to about Amtnirbhar movement.

    ReplyDelete
  4. why is india showing weakness

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just because Modi says that *”it is India’s misfortune that for decades nobody gave attention to defence capabilities”* it doesn’t necessarily become truth just because the PM said so ! On the contrary what Modi said is blatantly untrue ! To give a few examples that readily come to mind are the highly successful Leander class frigate building program started in end sixties for six modern frigates followed by the Godavari class, Brahmaputra class, Shivalik class frigates, Delhi and Kolkata class destroyers, two Shishumar class submarines, six scorpene class submarines, Aircraft carrier Vikrant, dozens of Offshore / Inshore patrol vessels, survey ships, landing ships and a whole lot of auxiliary vessels / fast interceptor boats. In the case of the army a whole range of battle tanks like T-55, T-72, Arjun, artillery systems like Dhanush, Pinaka etc, small arms like SLRs, machine guns etc have been under indigenous production since mid sixties. Gnats, MiG 21, Ajit, Marut, Sukhoi, Mirage and Tejas are some of the fighters manufactured in India under technology transfer / own design for the air force. In addition to these achievements India has the proud privilege of being amongst a handful of countries to have built its nuclear submarines, intercontinental ballistic missiles like Prithvi, Agni and an arsenal of lethal nuclear weapons.. Indeed many of these achievements like the Gnat, Marut, MiG 21, T-55, T-72, Pinaka, Leander frigates, SSK submarines, survey ships, landing crafts and auxiliary ships were produced during the restrictive and infamous “licence permit raj” ! It is therefore really intriguing that none other than the prime minister of the country should cast aspersions on achievements of Indian defence industry under past Governments especially since the present Government has not only reduced defence budgets to the lowest level ever (in real terms) and has nothing concrete to show with regard to “Atmanirbharta” and “make in India” over the last six years.. In fact performance of this Government in modernization of our defence forces has even made the indecisive AK Anthony appear like a superman ! Perhaps it is high time the Government put it’s head down and work quietly and tirelessly towards “Atmanirbharta” like past Governments rather than indulging in relentless bombast and bluster - with no concrete achievements to show !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If what you just blurted our was true, why was it that we could not properly arm our military? Why did we need Rafael if we were so advanced? We even buyvamnunition, rifkes shoes were being bought via Israel. Fact remains, we didn't pay attention to our defence needs.

      Delete
    2. These are irrefutable facts available in the public domain - which you can check if you wish to - so I think your question should rightly be addressed to the Govt as to why these successes and achievements in self reliance have not been followed up and why we are still dependent on huge imports for our defence needs

      Delete
  6. Just because Modi says that ”it is India’s misfortune that for decades nobody gave attention to defence capabilities” it doesn’t necessarily become truth merely because the PM said so ! On the contrary what Modi said is far from the truth ! A few examples that readily come to mind are - the highly successful Leander class frigate building program started in end sixties for six modern frigates followed by the Godavari class, Brahmaputra class, Shivalik class frigates, Delhi and Kolkata class destroyers, two Shishumar class submarines, six scorpene class submarines, Aircraft carrier Vikrant, dozens of Offshore / Inshore patrol vessels, survey ships, landing ships and a whole lot of auxiliary vessels / fast interceptor boats for the Navy and Coast Guard. In the case of the army a whole range of battle tanks like T-55, T-72, Arjun, artillery systems like Dhanush, Pinaka etc, small arms like SLRs, machine guns etc have been under indigenous production since mid sixties. Gnats, MiG 21, Ajit, Marut, Sukhoi, Mirage and Tejas are some of the fighters manufactured in India under technology transfer / own design for the air force. In addition to these achievements India has the proud privilege of being amongst a handful of countries to have built its nuclear submarines, intercontinental ballistic missiles like Prithvi, Agni and an arsenal of lethal nuclear weapons.. Indeed the production of many of these like the Gnat, Marut, MiG 21, T-55, T-72, Pinaka, Leander frigates, SSK submarines, survey ships, landing crafts and auxiliary ships were achieved during the restrictive and infamous “licence permit raj” ! It is therefore really intriguing that none other than the prime minister of the country should belittle the achievements of Indian defence industry under past Governments especially at a time when the present Government has not only reduced defence budgets to the lowest level ever (in real terms) and has nothing concrete to show with regard to “Atmanirbharta” and “make in India” over the last six years.. In fact performance of this Government in modernization of our defence forces has has not only been disappointing but has even made the indecisive AK Anthony appear like a superman ! Perhaps it is high time the Government put it’s head down and worked quietly and tirelessly towards “Atmanirbharta” like past Governments rather than indulging in relentless bombast and bluster - with no concrete achievements to show !

    ReplyDelete

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