Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that the Centre was trying to reverse the import-indigenous ratio of military hardware from the current 70% imports to 70% homegrown through incremental steps over the next five years.
“Annually, you reduce the foreign component by 10% so that in four to five years, you reverse the ratio — from 70% imports you go to 70% indigenous content,” Parrikar told security expert Nitin Gokhale, who has recently launched the BharatShakti.in website, in an interview. Parrikar said that the government has indicated to the armed forces that they have to reduce dependence on foreign sourced military equipment and prioritise the “Make in India” initiative.
“It is not easy to change mindsets. But the armed forces have been given clear indication that they have to give priority to ‘Make in India’ and indigenisation and dependence on foreign source should be reduced. Of course, if there are some technology issues, we can still go ahead and get that, but the trend is that by next year, the ratio of 70:30 (imported to indigenous content) should change by at least 10%,” Parrikar said. The minister explained that in a major impetus to the “Make in India” initiative, nearly 70% of defence contracts, which amount to around Rs 90,000 crore ($13.5 billion), signed in the past one year, fall in the “Buy Indian” or “Buy and Make in India” category.
“Among the major issues that he (Manohar Parrikar) addressed are issues that have the MSME sector vexed with the government stating its intention of selecting strategic partners in various major sectors of defence production. His remarks will ease a lot of ruffled feathers,” Gokhale said in a statement.
Parrikar also shared views on the One Rank One Pension (OROP) issue and the scheduled DEFEXPO at Goa, Gokhale said. Among other issues Parrikar discussed is the status of the Rafale deal between India and France, DRDO, the roadmap for HAL’s Light Combat Aircraft, a state-of-the-art fifth generation fighter aircraft project with Russia, submarines and the Army’s continuing dearth of officers.