Formally inaugurating the DefExpo 2018, the Prime Minister said the government will undertake extensive consultations with all stakeholders, including Indian and foreign companies, about defence production and the defence procurement policy.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the government is developing an ecosystem to foster an environment of new and creative entrepreneurship in the defence manufacturing sector. It is also building a defence industrial complex that will have room for everyone – public sector, private sector as well as foreign firms. The government is also looking at using emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics to its advantage in the defence sector, Modi said. Formally inaugurating the DefExpo 2018, the Prime Minister said the government will undertake extensive consultations with all stakeholders, including Indian and foreign companies, about defence production and the defence procurement policy. Addressing delegates from more than 40 countries, Modi said: “I call upon all of you to actively participate in this exercise. Our aim is not just to discuss, but to draw the right lessons. Our intention is not to lecture, but to listen. Our goal is not merely to tinker, but to transform.”
Comparing the defence policies of the present and the past, the Prime Minister said although the Centre wants to move fast, it doesn’t want to take short cuts. He lamented that there was a time when, like many other aspects of the governance, the critical issue of defence preparedness was also hampered by policy paralysis. “We have seen the damage such laziness, incompetence or perhaps some hidden motives can cause to the nation. Not now. Not anymore. Never again. Issues that should have been long addressed by previous governments are being resolved now.” Hitting at the previous governments for the ‘lack of interest’ concerning defence issues, Modi cited the recent example of the delay in procurement of bullet-proof jackets for Army jawans.” You would have seen how the issue of providing bullet-proof jackets to Indian Army soldiers was kept hanging for years. And, you would have also seen that we have brought the process to a successful conclusion with a contract that will provide a boost to defence manufacturing in India. You would also recall the long-drawn process of procurement of fighter aircraft that never reached any conclusion,” he said.
Modi said his government has not only taken bold actions to meet immediate critical requirements, but also initiated a new process to procure 110 fighter aircraft. “We do not want to spend ten years in discussions without any tangible outcome. We will work with you with a sense of mission to keep our defence forces equipped with state-of-the-art systems, and to create the necessary domestic manufacturing ecosystem to achieve this. And, in all our efforts to pursue efficiency and effectiveness in partnership with you, we will be guided by the highest ideals of integrity and probity. The government is of the view that its support for technology, innovation, research and development was essential for the defence sector. A technology perspective and capability road map has been released to help the industry plan and initiate technology development, partnerships and production arrangements, Modi said.