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Understanding Challenges that Block “Make in India” Project in the Defence Sector

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The current regional tensions and rising influence of an aggressive China, has put India at crossroads to various security threats. At this time, developing our defence capability is of the utmost importance to stay both, prepared for a situation of crisis and prevent risk of war by creating deterrence.

Recently, the centre had to scrap a Rs 32,000-crore project to build 12 advanced minesweepers (MCMVs), specialised warships, which detect, track and destroy mines along the coast. They have a very low acoustic, magnetic, electrical and pressure signatures. These vessels are designed to have high shock resistance against underwater explosions.

The deal was initiated with a South Korea-based, Kangnam Corporation and Goa Shipyard Limited, which failed due to commercial complications of the transfer of technology. Earlier last year the much in news Tata-Lockheed Martin partnership created problems for the same transfer of technology as Lockheed Martin denied 100% transfer of technology and also were apprehensive of taking ownership of quality of Jets manufactured.

The logic behind such challenges is simple, the west has capitalized on east deficiency of technology by scaling up markets for defence products in the region. Thus, they will never want to give away the advantage for the sake of ending dependency since, it would affect their major business. Relying on them for transfer of technology is like keeping false hopes to upgrade defense technology.

Outsourcing can be a temporary option but that will not come without compromising great deal on our terms and conditions. Instead, we must aim at strengthening our Research and Development Wing. Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman yesterday  unveiled Centre’s plan to set up manufacturing innovation centre at CODISSIA Coimbatore for which Rs.20 Crore is proposed.

However, strengthening our research and development wing needs more than infrastructure or monetary investment; we are lacking in direction of such investments. We needs to create infrastructure but with simultaneous development of human resource, by attracting and retaining top engineering talent that supports current goals and fuels the future. India does not lack in talent but lacks in identification, nurturing and allocation of existing and new talent especially in the defence sector.

Hence, we need to understand that technology, if, is owned by an entity that is human brain, it has the potential to create, recreate and transform it to new levels. This is quite evident from the fact that we were able to pull through various defense projects indigenous last year itself such as, Indigenous artillery Gun, Indigenous ‘Glide’ bomb, Brahmos supersonic missile, Nirbhay cruise missile, INS Kalvari, INS Arihant, are some to name a few.

This may be a time taking process but this is better than the all-time dependency on foreign countries and the only solution to futuristic objectives.

About the author

Gurpreet Kaur

Gurpreet Kaur Sharma is a budding researcher. Before being part of The Voice of Nation, she worked as a National Policy Researcher for a public policy think-tank. A Lady Shri Ram college alumni with a Political Science degree, she is recognized for executing research activities to create public policy awareness. Her writing is majorly inspired by the socio-political aspects of the society.
Gurpreet is unprejudiced and likes to stay away from “ism”. She loves to travel, trek, read and listen to music.

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