The Indigenisation of Indian Defence Sector
The Indigenisation of Indian Defence Sector can be understood as the capability to develop and produce defence equipment within the country for the purpose of achieving self-reliance and reducing the burden of imports. The Indian Defence Sector aims to design, develop and lead the production of state-of-the-art sensors, weapon systems, platforms and allied equipment for the Indian Defence Services. With the mission to provide technological solutions to the Defence Services in order to optimise combat effectiveness and to promote the well-being of the troops, they are working towards developing infrastructure and a strong indigenous technology base with the help of a committed quality manpower.
Late President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam propagated the requirement of private entrepreneurs to work in defence manufacturing, alongside the 9 Indian Military Industry PSUs such as HAL, BEL, BDL, BEML, MIDHANI, MDL, GRSE, and 41 Ordnance Factories - to reduce the heavy reliance of Indian defence sector on imports and instead focus primarily on research and development (R&D), defence production and procurement, to promote the development of defence and dual-use systems, subsystems, components, or technologies, for a product that is Indian Designed, Developed and Manufactured (IDDM). The idea is mainly to promote Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSME) including start-ups by inculcating R&D culture in the Industry for building indigenous state-of-the-art systems for defence applications.
From the significant beginning in defence indigenisation in 1983, when the government-sanctioned the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) to develop five missile systems: Prithvi (surface-to-surface), Akash (surface-to-air), Trishul (the naval version of Prithvi), Nag (anti-tank) and Agni Ballistic missiles with different ranges, to the recent government announcement of a budget of Rs.52000 Crores for domestic capital procurement coupled with the list of 101 items for import embargo, there has been a tremendous boost to Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and the indigenous defence manufacturing sector.
Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and private organisations are playing a critical role in indigenisation of defence industries
The primary benefits of indigenisation of defence industries, can be succinctly defined as a much-needed reduction in the fiscal deficit, security against its porous borders and hostile neighbours, generation of employment and ignition of the fire of nationalism and patriotism with the strong sense of integrity and sovereignty amongst the Indian Forces.