India elects its political representatives to govern but surprisingly when it comes to judge them on effective trust norms, these leaders get a dismal credit score. Similarly, the government officials also score poorly.
However, the same government and officials are responsible to make, execute and implement policies for welfare of the people. Narrowing down to security of the nation and its people, one should not be amused that they have faltered on many occasions to perform their roles effectively.
The government’s Make in India initiative successfully broke the chronic inertia that had set in the Indian defence manufacturing sector for the last seven decades and provided a roadmap to achieve self-reliance in the near future. But, the pace as well as clarity to get the desired results are missing.
With elections around the corner, one wonders whether this initiative would continue in case there is a change in the government or would it be put in a cold storage, a common trend among the Indian political parties due to their ideological differences.
Besides, shouldn’t it be better for the government to implement the lateral entry policy in the defence research organisations and defence PSUs like it did in the Niti Aayog, Invest India and economic policy making. This would pave way for resolving many issues that have been affecting the Indian defence manufacturing sector and I’m sure this move will find wider acceptance among various stakeholders in defence establishments.
The Made in India initiative achieved a great success in the automobile sector where the private sector is dominant. So, to curtail the trust deficit that is quite common in the defence manufacturing sector and among the government, defence PSUs and private sector organisations, special thrust should be given on measures to minimise it, and create a level-playing field for all the stakeholders. And, the first step in that direction can be providing a model procurement order outlook, both short-term and long-term, to provide a clear roadmap for all in this capital intensive sector based on three core parameters namely technology, cost and fast track delivery within the time frame.
With global providers of the next generation fighter jets taking keen interest in India, wouldn’t it be prudent and pragmatic for the government and IAF to reap maximum benefits to fill in the depleting squadrons. Can’t IAF devise a solution based on its combat requirements and accordingly raise a new fleet that fits in all the best available options. This would also provide our IAF pilots to get their hands on various flying machines and hone their skills for future actions.
The defence start-ups, SMEs, MSMEs and corporates have already shown their innovative and technological sparks, and with a secured order flow from the government and symbiotic synergies among all the stakeholders, India’s long-cherished dream to become self-reliant in its defence requirements can surely become a reality.
With best wishes…
Ajit Kumar Thakur
Editor & Business Director