Immense Scope for Indian Private Sector in Defence: Master General of Ordnance

Defence Industry

New Delhi: There is immense scope for Indian private industry to participate in the defence sector in view of the massive reforms and policy decisions in the recent years, this was the view of participants at an interactive meeting organised by the CII – Coimbatore and CODISSIA in Coimbatore on February 22.

Speaking at the meeting, Master General of Ordnance SK Upadhyay said India was a huge importer of defence equipment. Subsequent to the imports, for every small need the sector had to look abroad for suppliers for spares and components. This led to delays and huge cost. “So, we had to indigenise.” Be it replacing old equipment, buying new systems, or maintaining the existing equipment and systems, which are huge, there is a need to indigenise, he said.

Earlier, the industry faced issues such as lack of clarity on contacts in the forces to supply to the sector. There has been a major change. Details are provided on Make in India defence website, the processes have been simplified, innovations by startups are supported, the annual plan on what the Army proposes to buy from the industry is put out, and the indigenisation requirements are also listed. “We are more than keen to find solutions, work with you – from full systems to components,” he said.

According to Shailendra Malik from the Directorate of Indigenisation (Army), Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, the requirement is huge for development of Indian sources for spares and components for which external sources have dried. These come in different categories, such as armaments, engineering equipment, and electrical and electronics. There is still a large number of components and spares that need to be indigenised. “We interact with the industry and say how they can take part,” he said.

R Varadarajan, former chairman of Confederation of Indian Industry, Coimbatore (CII – Coimbatore), said India was a large importer of defence needs till 2018. Though procurement from the private sector is open since 2001, it is only recently that indigenisation has gained momentum. There has been a plethora of reforms in the last five years for better private participation and indigenisation.

There is scope for more participation, especially from MSMEs, in the defence sector, he said. President of Coimbatore District Small Industries Association (CODISSIA) R Ramamurthy spoke about the capabilities of Coimbatore MSMEs and the opportunities in the defence sector for these units.