It’s been a highly enriching and rewarding journey! What began as an initiative of passion four years ago is finally on a firm footing, confident enough to handle the uncertainties of what the future beholds? Raksha Anirveda’s 16th edition comes to you enriched with renewed focus, riveting content and geared up for a marathon run with the promise to keep its readers continuously engaged.
Two months into 2022, amidst the unexpected turns of events both in the domestic socio-economic–political dimension and the external geopolitical landscape, Aspiring India finds itself surrounded by new sets of multi-dimensional challenges. And to navigate through the extant crisis—India will have to build its credibility through economic consistency and restructuring along with effective leadership so as to rebuild the nation and take its rightful place in the new emerging world order.
The ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis and the subsequent toothless drama at the UNSC reconfirms that the credibility of the United Nations as an institution has eroded that deep restructuring and reforms is the need of the hour.
For India, it’s going to be a tightrope walk all through while retaining its strategic autonomy through calibrated balancing acts and securing itself from being trapped between the US and Russia. China will remain a long-term challenge and strategic rivalry will only gather steam in the forseeable future, forcing Beijing to take it more seriously in its strategic calculus.
As India celebrates the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to mark 75 years of independence, fostering a vibrant R&D culture and nurturing an independent R&D institution that competes and collaborates with the DRDO, should be the priority. Expanding its defence capabilities, ensuring significant commitment to a procurement programme for indigenously developed military hardware, and implementing a successful and sustainable defence export policy is a must for India.
Moreover, transparent policy decisions conducive to the business ecosystem that attracts capital, technological prowess and strengthens the defence manufacturing base will be an added advantage. It’s a tough task, but doable. All it needs is to bring on board a multitude of stakeholders to work together cohesively and retain the momentum irrespective of regime change.
Similarly, the government should initiate focused efforts to plug in the hidden gaps that challenge self-reliance through the ‘Make in India’ initiative. For example, limited demand, resilient access to the global supply chain, preference accorded to L1 rather than Quality cum Cost-Based Selection (QCBS) format, and lack of avenues to facilitate participation of high-end technology providers (without local manufacturing base) have repeatedly delayed programmes, affected armed forces’ fighting capability, allowed companies to breach the Tier-I & II Supplier criteria, and prevented India from obtaining next generation technologies.
At the same time, absence of conclusive certifications for ascertaining local content have led to procurement of products with high volume of foreign sourced components. As a result, poor product support wins and that eventually leads to weak equipment performance and enhanced lifecycle costs.
Already in the ‘Amrit Kaal’ phase, India’s ‘Path to Pride’ will need a deft handling of its economic and diplomatic challenges while ensuring strategic stability.