The successive Governments in the past have been declaring their intentions to pursue the self reliance in defence production as objective, without any concrete measures. They never seriously attempted to bring the much needed structural changes in the manner in which defence equipment are designed, produced and inducted into service, resultantly the import of defence equipment and dependency on foreign countries kept increasing. The tendency to protect narrow interest compromised the wider National interest. Matter of fact, over the years, the interested segment, be it in MoD, Department of Defence Production, DRDO and Services have been scuttling the innovative ideas and resisting the change to safeguard their turf. Lessons from the past clearly brings out, it is the political will of the present Govt, which will decide whether the present initiatives and resolve will be successful in the endeavour or fade away as in the past.
The much awaited new Defence Procurement Policy need to synergize and enhance the national competence in producing state-of-the-art defence equipment within the price lines and timelines that are globally competitive. To achieve the objective the Government need to opt for structural changes in how the present design, production and procurement function are managed.
The present Government has made incremental changes in the defence procurement system and adopted a slew of measures to provide relief and incentivize the national aerospace and defence industrial base. Need to adapt deliberate, cautious and methodical approach to re-design the whole eco-system in Defence Production with the 'MAKE IN INDIA' vision. The rules for engagement of public sector need to change to make them competitive. The realisation that private sector must be involved in all future defence programmes as they have proved their mettle in international competitiveness in some of the sectors, could be a game changer.
The emerging defence industrial base would have to have economies of scale, cost and quality competitive and need to be facilitated by the government through favourable policies, incentives and legislation. The challenge faced by the domestic industry in overall indigenization efforts need to be addressed by exploring all viable approaches such as building strategic partnerships, formation of consortia, joint ventures and public private partnerships etc. within the Government approved framework.