FIVE BIG CHAL­LENGES

THINGS TO DO TO MAKE IN­DIA’S MIL­I­TARY 21ST CEN­TURY-READY

India Today - - THE BIG STORY | RAJNATH SINGH -

1 IN­CREASE DE­FENCE BUD­GETS

The armed forces are caught in a pin­cer of ris­ing costs and stag­nant bud­gets. Man­power costs surged from 44% in 2011 to 56% in 2019, while cap­i­tal pro­cure­ment—money spent on buy­ing equip­ment—dipped from 26% to 18%. Bud­gets have maxed out, and the gov­ern­ment is unlikely to spend any more than the cur­rent 18% spend. But in pre-bud­get pre­sen­ta­tions be­fore the fi­nance ministry, the armed forces pro­jected a re­quire­ment for an ad­di­tional Rs 1.5 lakh crore.

2 RE­FORM

Stag­nant de­fence bud­gets could be an ideal op­por­tu­nity to push re­form, pri­ori­tise joint­man­ship, merge com­mands and trim ex­pen­di­ture. Sev­eral re­form com­mit­tees have rec­om­mended dras­tic steps. The last, the Lt Gen. Shekatkar com­mit­tee, sug­gested savings of up to Rs 25,000 crore over five years.

3 MAKE IN IN­DIA

This flag­ship scheme suf­fered for a lack of or­ders, and be­cause the ma­jor­ity of the de­fence deals were not placed with indige­nous pri­vate sec­tor firms. The MoD needs to pro­mote prod­uct-based devel­op­ment and fund In­dian De­signed De­vel­oped and Man­u­fac­tured prod­ucts. Rather than en­hance ca­pac­ity, it needs to utilise ex­ist­ing pro­duc­tion lines through Gov­ern­ment Owned, Corporate Op­er­ated mod­els.

4 JOINT PRO­DUC­TION

De­fence off­sets, which man­date for­eign equip­ment sell­ers to rein­vest 30-50% of a de­fence deal by sourc­ing equip­ment and ser­vices within In­dia, have failed. In the Agus­taWest­land VVIP he­li­copter deal, they were a means of rerout­ing bribes into In­dia. The MoD needs to find a way in which de­fence ven­dors col­lab­o­rate with In­dian firms to set up man­u­fac­tur­ing bases within In­dia.

5 STRATE­GIC PART­NER­SHIPS

The MoD’s 2017 Strate­gic Part­ner­ships (SP) model en­vi­soned In­dia’s pri­vate sec­tor team­ing up with global equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers to pro­duce fighter air­craft, sub­marines, he­li­copters and bat­tle tanks. The pro­gramme is two years be­hind sched­ule; of the four planned SPs, only two—pro­duc­tion of 111 Naval Util­ity he­li­copters and six Project 75I ad­vanced con­ven­tional sub­marines—have cleared the first stage.

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