Army Vice Chief says Forces Open to Locally Produced Arms

Indian Army

New Delhi. Taking a pragmatic view, the Vice Chief of Army Lt General M.M. Naravane said forces are now open to inducting locally produced arms even if they don’t meet the `best’ parameters as improvements can be carried out on the go.

Referring to a long standing dilemma for the domestic defence development ecosystem, he said that ‘best’ cannot be the enemy of the ‘good’ and unless systems are inducted and used in the field, they cannot be improved and developed to global standards.

“I would like to give this commitment and assurance on my part that whatever you produce, we will take. Let it be Mk1 (the first version), the improvements will continue and there will be a Mk II and a MkII,” he told a Defence Attaches Conclave here.

The senior officer touched upon a long standing sore point for the industry and research bodies that have been arguing that the force requirements are too stringent to meet and are often based on foreign standards, making them difficult to match. Several weapons developers have raised concerns that the armed forces keep updating their requirements for weapons platforms.

Promising to change this approach, Lt Gen Naravane told the conclave which was also attended by representatives from the private and public sectors that the forces will induct locally developed systems and use them.

“Unless we take it, experiment on it and use in the field, how will we know what it is all about…. My assurance to you is that we fully support indigenous efforts,” the officer said, adding that the Army sees the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a key partner for this.

In the recent past, the defence ministry approved several policies to promote indigenous development, including funding of research, opening up its test ranges for private companies and earmarking several technologies for procurement only by Indian companies.