In the wars of 1962, 1965 and even 1971, most of the technologies used by the Indian Armed Forces were not indigenous. Our troops were in the transformation stage and thus, they were dependent almost totally on foreign technologies and this was a lesson for us. In 1958, the government of the day took baby steps towards creation of a military-industrial complex by setting up the Defence Research and Development Organisation for the exclusive design, development and production of military hardware. The grand strategy was to acquire technology through licenced production of foreign weaponry to first become self-reliant and then move on to large-scale self-sufficiency in weapon platforms that give a nation political heft like aircraft, ships, tanks and missiles. Simultaneously, it worked on the weaponisation of the atom in the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and related laboratories.
However, DRDO projects suffered overly long delays and cost escalations that resulted in continuous dependence for military hardware on foreign sources.
But with the change of guard at the Centre in 2014, the government was more serious in developing the indigenous defence and security industry and announced the “Make in India” movement which actually made the foreign manufacturers interested in establishing the industries in India directly or with Joint Ventures. This was just the beginning for the Indian defence apparatus to get equipped with the indigenous products and technologies. This one movement actually attracted lot of foreign interest in the field of defence production. Certain old norms and regulations were eased to give relief to the investors in establishing the defence production units in India.
Now, we are in 2021, which is a time to actually evaluate if we could really achieve the targets of developing the indigenous defence industry for our forces or not. I would like to say here emphatically, Yes! With the change in the policies and regulations by the central government, we are close to a situation where we will be seeing many Indian companies coming forward to start their productions with all the available raw material and the technologies being developed by the Indian technocrats and the engineering companies. I am sure that in the near future, more and more technologies will be developed and produced for the requirements of our defence forces which will minimise dependence on the foreign products and technologies, and it will be a matter of pride for each soldier when he/she will use the indigenous products and technologies to safeguard the nation from any attack.
Every year in the month of February, the Central Budget is tabled in the Parliament and when you will get this edition, the Union Government Budget would have been presented and we will come to know how much budgetary provisions have been made by the government for the defence and its preparedness. I am sure that this year the defence budget will be far more attractive as compared to the previous ones.
This edition is focused on the emerging Indian technologies for the defence and security apparatus and on the defence budget. Our esteemed contributors have shared their candid views on the topics for your reading and reference purpose.
I am sure that you will find these articles of great importance for your reference library.