Revitalising Defence Industry: Transformational Reforms to be the Key Driver


Since the massive mandate the BJP got for a second term, it has sought to build a new narrative for India’s strategic and defence policy with renewed focus on neighbourhood, Central Asia and issue based strategic alignment with global powers. This assumes significance in the prevailing new global order that’s unpredictable and challenging with multiple centres of conflicts. It revolves around sovereign security, robust economic cooperation that’s aligned to rising aspirations of India and its strategic independence.

New India Strong India has been the key strategy in the action packed three months with India seeking to position itself for a strategic role in the global order.

The recent initiatives taken by the Modi 2.0 indicates that the government is confident and focused to bring in the necessary reforms to resolve the problems that have been plaguing the defence preparedness and the defence industry. This gives rise to several questions: Why defence R&D has failed to deliver in totality? Why DPSU’s haven’t been able to evolve as OEMs even after seven decades? Why the MSMEs and SMEs in defence sector haven’t been able to scale up? Why the much needed reforms in armed forces have been on the back burner?

Probably the mindset has resisted the wind of change for decades, trust deficit and the inherent inability to come out of the burdensome legacy issues.

India despite having the brightest minds and innovators hasn’t been able to match the global developments in defence technologies, What an irony? Russia with a defence budget that’s less than that of Indian defence budget is considered one of the best innovators in defence technologies and weapon platforms.

It’s never too late for with sincere efforts, the defence capability and preparedness gap can be narrowed down. The real thrust should be self reliance in defence through indigenous equipment manufacturing, futuristic technology and innovation development and R&D in the shortest time frame. It can be achieved through competitive collaborations, partnership and multi-layered efforts.

Many from the govt and services believe that there would be no war and it will be only skirmishes – conventional and unconventional. In near future, the two and a half war fighting agenda will further evolve or widen its scope as space will witness race between nations to emerge as space power leader. So focus should be on integrated defence capability, avoidance of duplication of weapon systems and platforms and right mix of defence procurement. The budget 2019 provided the glimpse of government’s clear intent to implement wide ranging transformational reforms (both structural and behavioural) with disruptive impact and make optimal use of available resources in order to revitalise the dormant defence industry and help realise its full potential. The national security and national prosperity are interrelated and now it’s imperative that the govt plan its future budgetary plan oriented towards S.E.W.D. (Social, Economic, Welfare and Defence).

PM Modi’s recent statement showcased government’s optimism to make use of this opportune time, move ahead with the much needed Amrit Manthan to churn out innovative ideas and solutions. And through good governance that entails efficiency in implementation, accountability and performance linked incentives, the final outcome of result as perceived will be a reality, for sure.

Jai Hind!!.

Ajit Kumar Thakur
Editor & Business Director