The call for New India, Strong India made by Modi 2.0 government is taking centre stage with government’s renewed focus on strategic and defence affairs showing positive trends. Despite rise of unilateralism and steady decline of multilateralism, India has not only held its own on matters of crucial national interest, but shown to the world of the pivotal role it’s going to play in the future global order.
In a fine balancing act, the government has redefined foreign and strategic policy keeping the core foundation intact with a new idiom and forging new, fresh engagements with all the major powers – Russia, USA, France and others on the high table. It has been deft, nuanced and jugular maintaining a fine balance.
The government’s move to nullify Art 370 was a master stroke. It not only isolated Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir globally but also forced it to flounder repeatedly despite its aggressive posture and stepped up information warfare. However, despite Pakistan’s failure to mobilise international opinion in its favour there is still need to exercise caution on this as lockdown in Kashmir continues. It could be a tough road ahead for the government and it will have to tread a rather sensitive path adopting a pragmatic, practical and energetic approach that’s ahead of the curve.
The government has been increasingly focussed on enhancing the Defence capability. The Prime Minister announcing in his Independence Day address the setting up of Chief of Defence Staff – CDS which though late, is a positive move. However, only time will tell whether CDS has the mandate to fulfil its objective in real terms or not.
Taking into account the security challenges arising out of neighbourhood geo-politics, the government has been on a massive procurement spree for the defence forces, it has also been focussing on self-reliance in defence manufacturing under the “Make in India” programme. The success of iDEX has emphasised that its replication and expansion of scale is important to energise the domestic defence industry ecosystem. It’s expected that the upcoming DefExpo 2020 will provide the much needed momentum to indigenisation.
Recent developments in the Strategic Partnership (SP) policy has brought to the forefront its inherent flaws that demands immediate fixation to ensure that there is Transfer of Technology in real terms and it doesn’t meets a dead end. Further, it’s important to unleash the much needed reforms in DPSUs, R&D institutions and put in motion the level playing field for competitive market play between public and private enterprises.
A recent seminar organised by Indian Telecommunications Equipment manufacturers was indeed revealing since it showed that the procurement policy doesn’t clearly define and differentiate between an assembler and manufacturer and considers both at par. A lapse that has impacted the innovative growth of SMEs and MSMEs and will have far reaching implications in future as well towards the realisation of self-reliance goal in defence manufacturing.
Raksha Anirveda congratulates IAF on its 87th anniversary and wishes them the best with confidence that they will continue making the difference through innovation and ensuring maximum effectiveness.
Ajit Kumar Thakur
Editor & Business Director