Arun Jaitley says India's location geopolitically sensitive, defence preparedness can't be compromised
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said India was located somewhat sensitively and the nation's defence preparedness was something 'we could never compromise on'
Bengaluru: Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said India was "located somewhat sensitively" and the nation's defence preparedness was something "we could never compromise on".
Terming his visit to Defence Public Sector Units like HAL, BEL and BEML in Bengaluru as "satisfying and a personal education", he said that with the experience of Defence Public Sector Units (DPSU) and the entrepreneurship of private sector, "coupled with the size of our market, we should enhance our manufacturing ability".
"In the present geopolitical situation, India is located somewhat sensitively. We've had in the past also multiple threats and, therefore, preparedness is something India could never compromise on," the defence minister said.
He said India's DPSUs have made an important strive and their costing and quality are competitive.
"It has been traditionally said and believed that countries don't win battles merely by depending on equipment they buy from others in the world. They have to enrich and expand their on capacity," he said.
Jaitley was speaking after launching the production of HAL-designed 5.8-ton category Light Combat Helicopter and dedicating the company’s design upgrade programme of Hawk-i to the nation at HAL premises in Bengaluru.
He said India has young and emerging DPSUs and they are increasing their share of contribution to country's defences along with ordinance factories. He said the county has always been heavily dependent on the rest of the world for buying, both equipment and technology.
Noting that research and development centres of a large number of global companies in various sectors of economy are shifting to India, Jaitley said, "We have a very powerful human resource, both numerically and in terms of trained minds and therefore our ability to throw up people who can be world leaders in research and technology is second to none."
"Therefore, it is extremely necessary we came out of the mindset that India will always be a buyer of defence equipment. Our narrow policies have also contributed to this," he said.
Jaitley said India is systematically moving in a direction where "we wish to now evolve and develop overselves in to a major manufacturing hub, not only for our own
requirements but also to supply to other countries".
He said the nature of this business is such that there are very few suppliers and within the country there was only one buyer, the armed forces. Therefore, the policy has to be designed in a manner that resources and manufacturing facilities created are not wasted and they are optimally utilised.
Pointing at the changes made in the Defence Procurement Procedure policy, Jaitley said some platforms are thrown open to private sector to set up manufacturing facilities in India.
He said, "It is absolutely necessary that both our strength with the experience of DPSUs and the entrepreneurship of private sector coupled with the size of
our market, we enhance our manufacturing ability so that India even in this field graduates from being net buyer into manufacturer and hopefully at a later stage a supplier to other countries in the world."