DMPQ- Critically evaluate that how Make in India programme can be a milestone for India’s Defense sector.

. India has the third largest military in the world and is the sixth biggest defence spender. India is also one of the largest importers of conventional defence equipment and spends around 30% of its total defense budget on capital acquisitions. 60% of defence related requirements are currently met through imports. The ‘Make in India’ initiative by the Government is focusing its efforts on increasing indigenous defence manufacturing and becoming self-reliant.

The opening up of the defence sector for private sector participation is helping foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) enter into strategic partnerships with Indian companies and leverage opportunities in the domestic market as well as global markets.  India’s focus on indigenous manufacturing in the defence space is paying off as the Ministry of Defence over the last two years unveiled several products manufactured in India like the HAL Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, the composites Sonar dome, a Portable Telemedicine System (PDF) for Armed Forces, Penetration-cum-Blast (PCB) and Thermobaric (TB) ammunition specifically designed for Arjun tanks, a heavyweight torpedo called Varunastra manufactured with 95% locally sourced parts and medium range surface to air missiles (MSRAM).

However, despite tall claims of moving towards self-reliance in the defence sector, India’s arms imports have shot up by 24 per cent between 2013 and 2017. No major contract under the Make in India category has really taken off and critical defence procurement happened with no transfer of technology.

Several global defence giants, including Europe’s Airbus group, America’s Lockheed Martin, Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and France’s Naval Group have made offers to India. Said Ashish Saraf, country head of Airbus helicopter division in India: “Airbus is planning to assemble its naval utility helicopters, including the Panther, for both domestic and export markets (including India).

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