NEW DELHI: Vice Chief of the Army Staff (VCOAS) Lt Gen SK Saini termed the need for developing indigenous capabilities an imperative need for keeping the country’s strategic autonomy.
Saini said, “Developing indigenous and local capabilities to confront emerging security challenges is an imperative need. It is no secret that during crunch situations, technologies developed by other countries would either not be available or if shared, will be at the cost of our strategic autonomy.”
Saini was delivering the inaugural address at a webinar organised by FICCI on the subject “Ushering Indigenisation through Make in India”. The Webinar was aimed to strengthen the Indian Army – Industry interface by engaging in direct dialogue and stocktaking of last year.
“The previous year was game-changer with respect to indigenous arms and equipment manufacturing,” said the VCOAS adding that the Indian army is the lead agent of change for this initiative and can redefine India as a global hub for manufacture of defence equipment.
“The only caveat was that the quality of the equipment had to pass stringent tests of quality, had to be developed innovatively and must adhere to the delivery timelines. This was to ensure that the Indian army was equipped with the best of equipment to fight its adversaries as heavy costs were imposed on the side coming second,” Saini said.
The army is pursuing to make projects in diverse fields of technology including 3rd generation ATGMs BMP upgrades, aerial targets, precision ammunition, tank ammunition, auxiliary power units, drone kill systems, mountain radars, to name a few.
Nine new projects were introduced in 2019 and in 2020 four more will be unveiled. Out of the 28 projects in progress, almost 50 per cent (13 of them) valued at Rs 21,264 crore are suo-moto proposals received from the Indian defence industry.
The first RFP under Make II route has been issued recently on 13 Jul 20 for our first Make II project of Manuverable Expendable Aerial Targets (MEAT). One more RFP for Upgraded Assault Track Way and three Project Sanction Orders (PSOs) valued at Rs 4919 Cr are going to be issued very soon.
To provide a major boost to indigenization, the Army has launched several initiatives in the recent past. These include establishment of Army Design Bureau to facilitate direct interaction with defence industries, Army’s problem definition statements released annually to provide a clear direction to the industry and release of the Olive Pages, which list the army’s annual requirements of spares, sustenance and upgrades.