Navy’s “Make in India” approach puts 90% of its capex back into Indian economy: Navy chief - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.
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Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Navy’s “Make in India” approach puts 90% of its capex back into Indian economy: Navy chief




By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 20 Sept 2022

  

The navy chief, Admiral R Hari Kumar, said the Indian Navy’s emphasis on “Make in India” and “Atmanirbharta” involves giving 88 per cent of its future contracts to Indian firms, generating employment and building skills in the domestic economy. 

 

“In addition to national security, the Indian Navy is committed to “rashtra nirman” and “Atmanirbharta,” said the “chief of naval staff” (CNS).

 

He said that India built its first indigenous warship, INS Ajay, in 1961. However, that builders’ approach has gathered such momentum that, during the past seven years, the navy has inducted 29 indigenous warships. 

 

The CNS divulged that the recently inducted aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, had 76 per cent local content. He promised that, by 2047, all Indian Navy equipment would be 100 per cent indigenous.

 

The session was attended by nearly one thousand delegates and was live-streamed on AIMA’s social media channels.

 

Asked how reliable Soviet and Russian equipment had been in India’s military, the CNS affirmed that the equipment had been reliable and it had served its purpose. 

 

Referring obliquely to New Delhi’s lease of two Russian, nuclear-propelled, attack submarines, both named INS Chakra, Kumar stated that Russia had been providing and supporting equipment that India could not get from others.

 

Asked what lessons the Indian military had drawn from the Russia-Ukraine war, the navy chief said that a key lesson was that it is easy to start a war but a major challenge to terminate one. 

 

The admiral also pointed to lessons in naval blockade and to the use of drones and precision munitions. Another key lesson was in using the press and social media to take the fight to the cognitive domain. “One doesn’t know whom to believe,” he said, referring indirectly to disinformation in modern warfare.

 

Admiral Kumar pointed out that China had been present in Indian Ocean since 2008 when it first made an entrance, citing piracy control as the purpose. From that foothold, the People’s Liberation Army (Navy) now has 5-8 warships in the Indian Ocean at all times, including research and fishing vehicles.

 

“We keep a watch on them at all times, but our capability development is not based on a particular country,” he said.

 

The Indian Ocean is regarded as the key to India’s future security and economy, it is also  the world’s busiest waterway and of interest of many regional and extra-regional countries. This interest must translate into greater spending on the navy, said India's navy chief.

 

He was speaking at the 49th National Management Convention hosted by the All India Management Association (AIMA). 

 

Explaining the benefits of the Agnipath recruitment scheme, which he was involved in formulating since 2020 when he was the Vice Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Kumar said that the idea came from the 1999 Kargil report, which had suggested lowering the military’s average age from 32 years to about 25 years. 

 

Kumar stated that, besides lowering the military’s age profile, the scheme would integrate the forces with society by having an average of one soldier from every block.

 

He said the scheme would provide a trained and disciplined workforce to industry and the government as 75 per cent of the young soldiers would be discharged from the military after serving seven years.

 

 Mr Kirloskar said that the growing involvement of the military with Indian industry was a good sign for India’s industrialization. He said critical technologies tend to be developed first for defence applications before trickling down for civilian usage. 


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