India's Aspirations Of Being A Regional Power Can No Longer Be Held Hostage To Arms Import: General Bipin Rawat

eSymposium on ‘Catalysing Defence Exports’, evoked some key policies shift & suggestions in defence export. From the Chief of Defence Staff to Defence Secretary and Industry came together for policy directions.

FICCI & SAMDes led eSymposium on ‘Catalysing Defence Exports’, envoked some key policies shift in defence export. General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff delivered the inaugural address. 

The eSymposium had the broadest range of participation from DPSUs and Private Defence entities of India. The recommendations are at the policy level with Ministry of Defence(MoD) being part of the discussion.  

Policy guidelines that emerged out of the Symposium follows upon the ambitious target of defence export of $5 billion by 2025. There is a need for well thought out defence export strategies on economic viability and sustained growth for defence industry.

These are some of the suggestions from Chief of the Defence Staff Bipin Rawat; Additonal secretar, P Harish, IAF's former AOC--C, Western Air Command, Air Marshal R Nambiar; Sanjay Jaju JS, DIP; Lt General Sanjay Chauhan, DGQA and Commodore Sujeet Samaddar, Honorary Secretary, SAMDeS.

For key policy suggestions for the Defence Export:

Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat: "As India grows in her stature, the security challenges will rise proportionately in the same direction. “India's aspirations of being a regional power can no longer be held hostage to arms import."

On Defence export, General Rawat said: "To boost the defence industry and export of defence products, General Rawat emphasized on the need to relook the Make in India policy. “Make in India theme may be relooked with three broad objectives viz. Make in India for import substitution, Make in India for sustained domestic demand and Make in India for global exports."

Gen Rawat: "We need to revamp our ordnance factories and other defence PSUs in terms of modernization, work culture and quality control. “Corporatization including public listing of some units would be the way forward to ensure more efficient interface with the designer and the end user."

P Harish, Addl Secy (ER) spoke about diplomacy and defence exports and outlined various measures adopted by missions abroad, recommended that all warship visits to foreign ports showcase Indian technology, industry associations should synchronize defence expos during ministerial visits. 

Yaduvendra Mathur, Former Spl Secy spoke about sovereign options for financing defence exports. CMD of HAL, GSL spoke about potential for helicopter and Ship exports whilst BEL spoke about Defence electronics. Solar Industries spoke about explosives whilst L&T made several recommendations on promting defence exports. 

Air Marshal Nambiar said that offsets in defence procurement come at an additional  cost of 12-15%, hence may not have served its purpose and instead a 5% cess on defence imports could be considered. 

Commodore Sujeet Samaddar brought out that defence exports is very different and requires different skill sets and expertise of geopolitics and international security, arms trade laws, conflict etc. 

Cmde Sujeet suggested on the the line of Government of Government military cooperation that anticipation of creation of demand can be converted to a prospect, specially in Indian products when a lead is developed, work with both Indian and the foreign Government who is the final buyer in structuring the deal, and finally contract either as direct commercial or Government to Government sale.

The aspect of quality in defence products, third party certification, raksha guan shakti scheme and opening up the testing infrastructure to all players was discussed by Lt General Sanjay Chauhan, DGQA.

Sanjay Jaju JS, DIP said: "More incentives to strengthen defence exports are underway to reduce time and cost and that US$2 billion is being considered to provide Line of Credit to friendly foreign countries to procure Indian equipment."

Sudhakar Gande, Co-Chairman, FICCI Defence & Aerospace Committee and CEO, Jupiter Capital Pvt Ltd, Non-Executive Director, AXISCADES Engineering Technologies Limited said in order to have a stronger defence export market, we need to have a strong domestic defence industry. 

He added that to achieve the PM’s target of US$ 5 billion defence exports in next 5 years we need to have continuous path breaking policies.

On the line of credit, Mr Neeraj Gupta, Managing Director, MKU Limited said:

"government should extend the lines of credit to more and more countries especially in the area of defence exports. This will act as an enabler for our defence exports."


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