I Believe That The Defence And Aerospace Sector Can Catalyse Make In India: Baba Kalyani
In an interview with BW Businessworld, Baba Kalyani, CMD, Bharat Forge (Kalyani Group) talks about skills development, technology transfer, national security and job creation
On the defence industry being the ‘next big thing’ for the economy, skills development, technology transfer, national security and job creation
I very strongly believe that the defence and aerospace sector can catalyse the Make in India movement in the country and help boost economic activity. Last year, the Ministry of Defence introduced the Defence Production Policy 2018. The policy articulates a vision to make India self-reliant and one of the top five countries of the world in the aerospace and defence sector. It sets an objective to achieve an annual turnover of $26 billion in defence goods and services by 2025.
Some salient features of this policy are
attracting additional investments of up to $10 billion, creating 20-30 lakh employment avenues, setting up a Defence Exports Organization, bringing in more synergy between Defence Procurement and Defence Production and achieving complete self-reliance in major weapon systems like fighter aircraft, helicopters, warships, gun systems, land combat vehicles etc.
Implementing the Defence Production Policy 2018 in right earnest and with speed will give the much-needed fillip to investments, production scale capacities and indigenous capability building in the sector.
On the policy framework at the macro level
As an active stakeholder engaged in this sector for the past several decades, I can with a strong conviction, claim that never in the past have so many measures been taken to give a fillip to the private sector in defence than in the last four-and – a - half years. However, going forward in the next 12-15 months, the focus has to be on implementation, expediting execution of major procurement programmes and awarding contracts to the private sector.
It is of paramount importance that India stop relying on foreign powers for Transfer of Technology (ToT) and create ‘know-how’ and ‘know-why’ for fighter aircraft, warships, guns, land combat systems, helicopters and all those 13 weapon systems which have been identified in the Production Policy 2018. I am 100 per cent sure that we are heading in this direction.
On promoting exports
I have personally attended all the Defence Expos, but the one last year has had a special emphasis on promoting Made in India equipment to countries abroad. Our friendly neighbours on the eastern side, countries in Central Asia and South-East Asia have started to enquire from Indian private sector companies. I am very confident that over the next four or five years, Indian defence exports will secure a major boost and realise some major wins.
On the policy overhaul necessary to spur Make in India
The requisite policy interventions have all been made. What is of significance now is the urgent need to modernise our forces by providing them with the latest and most advanced weapon systems across all categories but yes, all of them, with a very high level of indigenisation and Made in India content in them. Hence, going forward, quick decision making at all levels in the ministry, timely progression of several procurement programmes that are in the pipeline and concerted efforts by both the Armed Forces and the bureaucracy to expedite actions, will need to be of utmost priority.