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Need to create an innovative & self-reliant ammunition base for national security: Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister

Jul 27, 2022

  • Healthy mix of local endeavors, foreign collaborations imperative for Atmanirbharta in defence production

NEW DELHI, 27 July 2022: Mr Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister, Government of India today said that ammunitions and components are equally important for all defence services. "There is a need to have a strong base of ammunition manufacturing in India. We need to emphasize on indigenous designs," he added. Looking at India's regional and geo-political imperatives along with the security challenges, the vision of Atmanirbharta in defence production cannot be left behind, highlighted Mr Singh.

Addressing the 2nd conference on Military Ammunition 'AMMO India 2022', organized by FICCI, jointly with CENJOWS, Raksha Mantri added that Atmanirbhar Bharat does not mean India closing the doors for the world. India is ranked in top 10 countries as far as defence expenditure is concerned which makes it an attractive destination for defence manufacturing. "Ministry of Defence is promoting foreign OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to not only invest in Indian defence market but provide opportunity to export from India also," he added.

He further stated that while embarking on the journey of Atmanirbhar Bharat, it is important to have a healthy mix of local endeavors along with thrust on foreign collaborations. "Whenever a country embarks on a new growth journey, all stakeholders with collective approach including public-private sector, R&D establishments, start-ups, academia along with individual innovators are needed. The same collective approach is also needed in the Indian ammunition manufacturing sector as well," highlighted Mr Singh.

Speaking on the role of private sector, the Defence Minister stated that the government understands the capabilities of the private sector. The government has taken a series of steps to increase private sector participation in the defence sector. "The government is working to remove all barriers to help the industry including relaxation in certain conditions financial eligibility criteria, credit ratings etc. to facilitate and incentivize participation by the private sector," he added.

Mr Singh also urged the industry, start-ups and R&D establishments to come forward in ammunition manufacturing sector and help government to take defence industry to newer heights. "To provide opportunities to MSMEs and Start-ups, the government has expanded the scope of Defence Innovation Start-up Challenges and Technology Development fund. The government will take feedback from the industry in formulating policies in future as well," he assured the industry.

Lt Gen CP Cariappa, Master General of Sustenance (MSG), Indian Army said that as a nation, we have witnessed a paradigm shift in outlook towards defence production. The necessity of a self-reliant India in defence sector, especially in the ammunition sector cannot be over emphasized. "With the current geo-political dynamics that emerge from a national security perspective, being Atmanirbhar in defence sector is no longer an option for India. The Indian Army is fully committed in achieving Atmanirbharta in the defence sector particularly in the ammunition manufacturing sector," he added.

Dr PK Mehta, Director General (Armament & Combat Engineering) Cluster, DRDO said that unless the focus is given to all ammunition manufacturing in India, we cannot come out of import dependence. He further stated that DRDO is willing to handhold the industry for all development to promote ammunition manufacturing in the country.

Mr Subhrakant Panda, Senior Vice President, FICCI said that in order to enhance private sector participation in defence sector, the Ministry should begin trials in a time-bound manner on all import substitution options available for Indian industry. "Indigenization through handholding is the way to go," he added. Mr Panda also suggested that an assessment is needed to gauge the infrastructure required for private sector to meet capacity requirements for armed forces.

Mr Arun T Ramchandani, Chair, FICCI Defence & Aerospace Committee and EVP & Head, Defence IC, L&T said that the requirement to develop ammunition is complex and to include private sector in this requires newer and proper infrastructure along with an enabling eco-system and financing.

Lt Gen Sunil Srivastava, Director, CENJOWS said that collaboration, cooperation and coming together as a system is the only way to make Atmanirbharta in defence ammunition possible.

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