Indian Military reluctant to buy local Weapons sir superior technology available with Pakistan

Indian Military reluctant to buy local Weapons sir superior technology available with Pakistan

NEW DELHI - The Indian government cannot compel the armed forces to buy indigenous weapons, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday after she inaugurated a defence exhibition. Her comments came in backdrop of the Indian Military reluctance to buy local arms due superior technology available with Pakistan.

On being asked about the huge export-import gap in the defence sector of a country that does not even figure among the top 25 exporters of arms and reluctance of its forces to buy locally manufactured weapon systems, the minister said she could only tell the armed forces to procure from indigenous companies “as much as possible”.

Sitharaman said she could not cross a “thin line” to impinge on the freedom of the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force or the Indian Navy “to make their own decisions” as per their operational requirements. “I can’t imagine prevailing upon them. We will only want them to give space to local manufacturers and buy indigenous products.”

The Army had told a Parliamentary Standing Committee that it was reeling under severe fund crunch and struggling to even make emergency procurements when there was a real possibility of a two-front war and both China as well as Pakistan were carrying out modernisation of their defence forces in “full swing”.

The report of the committee was tabled in Parliament last month. “The parliamentary standing committee has said lot more. I wish you had read the entire report of the committee. The standing committee report has said so many other things as well,” Sitharaman said.

The government allocated Rs 76,765 crore less to the Army, Navy and Air Force in the defence budget than what they had sought to purchase new weapons, aircraft, warships and other military hardware, according to official figures placed in Parliament last month.

The three forces had demanded Rs 1.60 lakh crore as capital outlay but were granted Rs 83,434 crore for the year 2018-19. Referring to criticism of delays in procurement of bullet proof jackets for the armed forces, Sitharaman said it is not like “over the counter buying of things” and the government was putting sincere efforts to meet demands of the armed forces.

The four-day DefExpo India, whose theme is “Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub, held at Thiruvidanthai off the East Coast Road near hear, is the 10th in the biennial exercise aimed at establishing Brand India and highlighting the manufacturing capabilities of the country’s public and private sectors. Over 650 exhibitors, including some 520 Indian companies, are participating in the event.

The defence exhibition that targets India’s futuristic goal of building a self-sufficient domestic arms industry — a key facet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi <link>’s “Make in India” slogan — comes even as the armed forces of India facing multiple security threats continue to be saddled with sub-optimal weapon systems.