The bureaucratic inertia, narrow self interest, inability to adapt and a conscious desire to cling to the past practices by almost all the stakeholders has hampered the Indian defence capability building since independence. The leading indicators of peril were on the horizon due to policy paralysis during last few decades. What country needed was a strong and decisive leadership, which is critical to strengthen our ecosystem in manufacturing. Indian defence sector can only be transformed by encouraging public-private partnerships for production, research on transformative and emergent technologies.

The realization that Indian security apparatus is not adequately equipped and thus self reliance in defence production is the only alternative, seems to be a commitment rather than a political rhetoric by the new Govt. The things are beginning to move on social, economic and strategic domain. The indicator such as economic growth of 5.7% for the three months, efforts to establish a new bilateral relationship, boosting the manufacturing industry are good signs for period to come. The series of recent prompt decisions relating to defence production such as preference to in country production of defence equipment, increase in FDI, rational decision and flexible approach on blacklisting and banning are welcome change.

The government and the industry need to retain the tools to access the intellect, capital and technology necessary for success. The success will depend on the ability of MoD to develop clear and flexible strategies and the ability of industry to build on these strategies using innovative models and methods. Critically, these strategies must also be supported with appropriate, agile bureaucratic and governance processes. Fortunately, the current defence climate, suggests recognition of the willingness to implement the requisite reforms. Indeed, rather than improving certainty for business, simplifying regulations and allowing market forces to ensure competitiveness, the Govt is attempting to cover the gap.

In short terms, besides fast tracking the delayed ongoing projects and acquisition plans, there is dire need to telescope the process or run the activities concurrently.

In this issue, we cover the policy issues and challenges posed by the emerging ecosystem. Hopefully the coming year will usher a new era of strategic and technological advantage to India.

Maj Gen Dr. Bhupinder Yadav (Retd.)

Maj Gen Dr. Bhupinder Yadav (Retd.)

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