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Pushing ‘Make in India’ to develop defence : Nirmala Sitharaman


Highlighting the fact that a nation cannot be “truly” self-reliant until it is able to develop and manufacture its weapon systems, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday the Government is promoting ‘Make in India’ projects to develop the Indian defence industry.

Making this point while addressing the bi-annual Navy Commanders’ Conference in New Delhi, she said the Government is also promoting the medium and small-scale enterprises in the ‘Make in India’ venture to gain access to world class technology. Appreciating the role of the Indian Navy in indigenization, she said its active role in engaging a wide range of research and development and production agencies is indicative of its commitment to self-reliance.

On the issue of critical capability shortfalls that the Navy is facing in ship-borne multi-role helicopters, reconnaissance aircraft, unmanned platforms, conventional submarines and surface ships which need urgent redressal to maintain the combat edge, she assured the Commanders that these issues are being given due impetus at the ministry.

Sitharaman said the Navy’s requests for major acquisition projects for 2018-19 will go through smoothly.  She said a large part of the Navy’s requests between 2017-18 has been taken to a logical conclusion and many of them are almost on the verge of getting tied up.

Daily Pioneer further reported that Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said the commanders will analyse mission-based deployments, maintenance to operational transitional cycle and larger issues of geo-strategic Indian Ocean.

The commanders will also deliberate on improving the teeth-to-tail ratio and explore niche fields such as Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics. Harnessing cutting-edge technologies, specifically those ‘Made in India’ would be a key focus during the conference.