- To acquire an international standing and recognition thereby, every country does its best to develop, sustain, and keep improving in line with the clearly demarcated goals and objectives. Policies, strategies, and decision-making must be top-notch and driven by motivated leadership to keep marching ahead. Any nation progressing on the developmental path will have these inherently critical traits closely monitored and improvised upon by the well-oiled administration machinery. Unless the government and officials strive to achieve the objectives unambiguously, no way any country can think about competing with the best out there. You see, any aspirational society would want to be counted amongst the best and self-sufficient.
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- Now, self-sufficiency in all respects without having to be at the mercy of other countries means that a particular nation is already developed. Most advanced nations are not only self-sufficient but also extend a helping hand in propping up lesser countries to the desired levels. India too is aspiring to be counted amongst the most economically developed countries in line with the technology-driven modern-day requirements and to emerge self-sufficient. And one of the most important verticals that should command greater attention is the indigenization of the military which is non-negotiable vis-à-vis ensuring the sovereignty and security of the nation from external threats. It is here India is found wanting even after seven decades of independence.
- Most hearteningly, efforts are underway to break the ceiling steadily. In a recent development, another step towards indigenization of military platforms was initiated by the defence ministry. It was recently announced that the ministry has given the initial approval to projects worth Rs. 76,390 crore towards the construction of eight next-generation corvettes for the navy, procurement of wheeled armored fighting vehicles, and the manufacture of Dornier aircraft and Sukhoi-30 MIK aero-engines by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. All the proposed capital acquisitions will be under the ‘Buy and Make India’ rubric. We know how the war in Ukraine has starkly brought home the reality that we are too dependent on foreign defence imports.
- Our dependency on Russia with at least over 50% of India’s overall military assets forming the inventory made New Delhi walk a diplomatic tightrope over the conflict. Worryingly, the performance of Russian military platforms in the war has been poor, with a large number of armored fighting vehicles breaking down. However, indigenization has to be done smartly. Most of our indigenization success has been in auxiliary and spares. And to take the endeavour to the next level, we need to significantly up our investment in R&D and create a cutting-edge military-industrial ecosystem with universities, the private sector, and defense PSUs working in tandem. Now, if this must fructify, the Indian economy must grow at a high and sustained rate. Hopefully, it will.