Monday, 23 July, 2018

Defence & SecurityGovernment Pushes For High-Tech Defence Equipment Manufacture In India

Reuters Reuters
Laurie Berry | 25 May, 2017, 17:01

The Union Cabinet has approved the much-awaited strategic partnership model which will allow local private sector companies to form manufacturing joint ventures with foreign defence equipment makers-a shot in the arm for the government's "Make in India" programme as well as efforts by the Indian private sector to make inroads into the lucrative defence equipment business.

"These platforms will be manufactured in India, and a model for bidding has been formulated under which in every field, for every platform, one private sector will be chosen", Jaitley said.

Under the "strategic partnership" model, the government will shortlist and then pick Indian companies to join forces with foreign firms to make fighter jets, helicopters, armoured vehicles and submarines.

Under the new model, the single engine fighter aircraft and helicopters segment will be open only to the private sector at the moment. Several foreign manufacturing giants like Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Saab have indicated their willingness to explore the possibility of setting up manufacturing bases in India.

In June, Modi is also expected to visit the United States, which has emerged as one of the top arms suppliers to India in recent years.

Sarbananda Sonowal all-praise for Major Leetul Gogoi
The Congress party on the other hand cornered Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said, "The Army officials are also getting influenced by the working pattern of the Modi government".

Some executives and analysts have said the new policy could undermine competition and hand winning Indian firms a virtual monopoly, but the government decided it has reached enough of a consensus to push the policy through.

The policy was also discussed at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) - after the Defence Ministry finalised the proposal on Saturday, it was forwarded to the CCS for finalapproval.

"We see the policy as doing something good for indigenisation", Jayant Patil, Head of Defence and Aerospace at Larsen & Toubro, India's largest private sector engineering firm, told Reuters.

Asked how soon the strategic partners will be selected, Jaitley said: "As fast as we can". One Indian private defence manufacturer will be selected for each of the four segments and the Indian entity will tie- up with the select foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) to produce platforms under the "Make in India" initiative.

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