In first meeting, new defence panel agrees to time-bound plan execution
The newly constituted overarching Defence Planning Committee (DPC) – headed by national security adviser Ajit Doval and mandated to drive the country’s military and security strategy – discussed the “geostrategic landscape” and agreed to implement plans in a time-bound manner in its first meeting on Thursday, a defence ministry spokesperson said.
The panel’s ambit includes preparing draft reports on national security strategy, international defence engagement, building a defence manufacturing ecosystem and boosting military exports.
Apart from the three service chiefs, the committee comprises the defence secretary, the expenditure secretary, the foreign secretary and the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, who also serves as member secretary.
“The members deliberated upon the geo-strategic landscape and agreed to chart a time-bound action plan in keeping with its broad mandate,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The committee has been constituted at a time when the Indian military has complained that lack of resources are hurting its modernisation while China and Pakistan are swiftly upgrading their military capabilities.
Meeting defence production goals is likely to figure prominently in the panel’s future discussions, officials familiar with the matter said. The draft Defence Production Policy-2018, released in March, visualises India as one of the top five countries in the aerospace and defence sectors in the coming years, with defence goods and services expected to account for a turnover of Rs 1.7 lakh crore by 2025.
Analysts believe that decisions on military purchases could happen faster through the DPC as the prime minister’s office, the defence ministry, the finance ministry and the services are part of the same committee, which will submit its reports to defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman.