India is fast moving towards 40 per cent indigenisation of defence production from the present 30 per cent, thanks to the many initiatives the government has taken in the recent past, the Defence Minister A.K. Antony announced here.
Conceding that the pace of indigenisation was not as desired, efforts were now on to speed up as well ensure greater transparency. India has not been able to develop state-of-the-art technologies for many years, but that is changing. We are now developing sensitive technologies such as radars, electronic warfare systems etcbut that is not enough. We have to move fast and cautiously.
One of the reasons for the slow pace of indigenisation, he attributed it to the technology denial regime by the West following the Pokhran explosion. Now these countries realise that India is a responsible military power and that the technology denial regime is a thing of the past.
This year the government had formulated a policy for joint venture production and last year the government had expanded the offset policy. Because of the new offset policy, this year onwards, we will have more absorption. In certain critical areas, the armed forces need equipment now and in such areas we cannot wait and have to import.
Indigenisation Gaining Momentum
Considering the mandatory offset obligations, the quantum of offset would increase 10 times, hence calling for review of the offset policy. Both the public and private sector will not be able to match the requirements and we have to upgrade the policy. The Defence Acquisition Council will review the same.
In the backdrop of Indias sensitive surroundings, Antony said, the modernisation process of the armed forces had to be stepped up and that called for enhanced allocation for capital expenditure. This year has been difficult for the government, however the budgetary allocation for defence has gone up by nearly 18 per cent.
On allowing Indian defence companies to export, the Minister said that the export policy has been liberalised, but the government priority is to meet the domestic requirements. Depending on the proposal of a company to export, we will take a decision, he clarified.