New Delhi [India], July 28 (ANI): External dependence on armaments and ammunitions has been a matter of concern and it is a strategic imperative for India to achieve self-sufficiency in the critical defence requirements, Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Pande said on Thursday.
“Our external dependence on armaments and ammunitions have been a matter of concern and the reversing of this trend which we are witnessing is quite encouraging,” Pande said while addressing a special session at the second conference on Military Ammunition ‘AMMO INDIA 2022’.
While highlighting the potential for domestic and foreign players in the Indian defence production, Pande stated that Atmanirbharta does not mean isolating from the world, but it is self-sustaining and self-generating to promote efficiency, quality and resilience.
“It has been unequivocally stated that collaboration with foreign OEMs is intrinsic to Atmanirbhar Bharat and we have moved from a relationship of buyer-seller to a co-development and co-production with our foreign partners,” he said.
He said “the situation on the Northern borders has taught us to be self reliant.”
Speaking on the ongoing world affairs, he said that external dependence on other countries for weapons should be reversed. “Russia-Ukraine conflict and uncertainty in our neighbourhood taught us that our armed forces should be able to handle a wide spectrum of tasks,” he said.
The Chief of the Army Staff stressed that a futuristic approach in defence production is important for strengthening the national interest. Research and Development and technological advancements are also important for strong self-reliant capabilities. In addition, capabilities to forecast the impact using Artificial Intelligence is also important, he said.
The Army Chief said that being one of the largest armies with live borders, “we need large range and quantity of ammunition”.
General Pande stated that the ongoing reforms in the defence sector offer an opportunity for the foreign OEMs to partner with the Indian companies and work towards our shared objectives.
He said there is a huge potential for exports which can also contribute to the Prime Minister’s vision of a $5 trillion economy. “Therefore, the vision of achieving Atmanirbharta in ammunition requires a synergised approach from all stakeholders. Together with need to turn the initiative into another success story and a win-win situation for all,” he emphasised.
General Pande stated that the contemporary security environment and changing character of war require the armed forces to handle a wide spectrum of challenges both in conventional and sub-conventional domains.
“Our interests are best served by being Atmanirbhar, especially in the defence production. Self-reliance is among the key factors on which the military capability of any nation rest. A holistic, all-encompassing, well calibrated, multi-pronged and futuristic approach in defence production is fundamental to ensure safeguarding our national interest,” he added.
Chief of the Army Staff also emphasized that R&D along with technological progression are equally fundamental to self-reliance. “Atmanirbharta in defence production does mean limited to production but it should also encompass evolving homegrown capabilities and technologies. For a holistic and self-reliance strategy, it is imperative that ammunition life cycle management capabilities are concurrently established,” he asserted. A significant investment is also needed in establishing R&D infrastructure, testing and evaluation capabilities to meet our ammunition needs.
He further stated that a pragmatic and actionable indigenous defence production strategy is needed to ensure a secure and sustained supply of ammunition and armaments as per national security needs.
There is also a need to share the experiences and technical knowledge of DRDO, OFBs and other PSU units with the industry to build new capabilities.
“We need to have a more collaborative and cooperative framework in which all stakeholders to work together to reduce import dependence and provide the required impetus to the domestic capabilities,” added the Chief of the Army Staff. He said that much has happened since the seminar started in 2018 including the pandemic that taught the new normal. (ANI)