Against the backdrop of delays in several key military projects, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said indigenous content in defence procurement was "low" and asked DRDO to focus on areas where it has the capacity to deliver within reasonable time.
The remarks come at a time when several of the key Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) projects including the development of the Light Combat Aircraft and Kaveri engine for it have been delayed resulting in cost and time over-runs.
"The reality is that share of indigenous content in defence procurement continues to be low. We need to take a hard look at the pipeline of our projects and focus our time and material resources on selected areas where we have demonstrated capacity to deliver projects within reasonable time and cost," the Prime Minister said at the DRDO Technology Awards function in New Delhi.
He said there was a "net deterioration in international strategic and security environment and political uncertainties in our neighbourhood, civil strife and turmoil in the Middle East, terrorism and threats to cyber security present complex challenges that require both conventional as well as technological responses."
Noting that the government was committed to modernising the armed forces, Singh said, "Question is how we can procure the requisite cutting edge technologies and platforms, even while promoting indigenously developed technologies that meet the required time and quality assurances standards."
He said in the longer term, the country will have to build domestic defence industry including both the public and private sectors which can compete with global players in developing state-of-the-art technologies and on commercial parameters and customer satisfaction.