Collaboration with foreign companies intrinsic to self-reliance goal: Army chief

Published on Jul 28, 2022 06:56 PM IST

Pande’s comments came a day after Union defence minister Rajnath Singh made a strong pitch for self-reliance in the ammunition sector

Chief of Army Staff Manoj Pande at the ‘Ammo India 2022’ conference in New Delhi on Thursday. (HT Photo)
Chief of Army Staff Manoj Pande at the ‘Ammo India 2022’ conference in New Delhi on Thursday. (HT Photo)

Traditional dependence on imported armaments and ammunition was a matter of concern and the current reversal of this trend is very encouraging, Indian Army chief General Manoj Pande said on Thursday, emphasising that collaboration with foreign OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) is intrinsic to the goal of ‘atmanirbharta’ (self-reliance) in the defence sector.

“It has been unequivocally stated that collaboration with foreign OEMs is intrinsic to ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and we have moved from a relationship of buyer-seller to co-development and co-production (of weapons and systems) with our foreign partners,” Pande said at the ‘Ammo India 2022’ conference, jointly organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Centre for Joint Warfare Studies.

Pande’s comments came a day after Union defence minister Rajnath Singh made a strong pitch for self-reliance in the ammunition sector at the same conference, while asking private industry to partner with the central government to cater to the requirements of the armed forces.

Also Read:Rajnath Singh pitches for self-reliance in ammunition sector

The army chief said ongoing reforms in the defence sector provide an opportunity for foreign OEMs to partner with Indian companies and work towards shared objectives. Import substitution of ammunition, which is a recurring requirement, is a top priority for the Centre, which has imposed a phased ban on the purchase of different types of ammunition from abroad.

“With the government’s push for ‘Make in India’ in recent years, the defence industry understands that the development of both platforms and ammunitions through Indian industry is the way forward,” said N Raveeswaran, co-chair, FICCI defence and aerospace committee.

India has taken several steps over the last two to three years to boost self-reliance in the defence sector, curbing imports and allocating more funds for domestic procurement.

The Centre has imposed a phased ban on the import of 310 different types of weapons, systems and ammunition, and earmarked 84,598 crore – 68% of the military’s capital acquisition budget – to purchase indigenous weapons and systems in FY 2022-23.

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