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CDS Bipin Rawat: forces must avoid imports, go to “Make In India”, says General Bipin Rawat | India News

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NEW DELHI: The military has to shed its overwhelming dependence on exorbitant foreign weapons systems and instead put all its weight into ensuring that ‘Make in India’ is no longer just a catchphrase, said chief of staff for Defense, General Bipin Rawat, to TOI. in an exclusive interview on Saturday.
“We are not expeditionary forces that have to be deployed around the world. We have to protect and fight only along our borders and, of course, dominate the Indian Ocean region. Therefore, we should not accept large amounts of imports by misrepresenting our operational requirements, “Rawat said.
“Covid-19 has affected everyone. We need to be realistic, start adjusting, and have an important perspective on our operational priorities and what we really need. Arms imports, along with the supply of spare parts and maintenance, have become increasingly expensive, “said the country’s first chief of three services.
His direct comments mean that strong armed forces over 15 lakh have to undergo a major reorientation to put aside foreign-made weapons that have long been their preferred choice. The comments are also significant in the context of the temporary freeze on major new deals for foreign weapons and the possibility that the defense budget will be cut due to the huge impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the country’s finances.
India currently languishes in the strategically vulnerable position of being the world’s second largest buyer of foreign weapons after Saudi Arabia, accounting for 9.2% of total global arms imports during 2015-2019.
In recent years, India has signed several major purchases for defense equipment, including those for 36 French Rafale fighter jets (Rs 59 billion) and five Russian S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile squadrons (Rs 40 billion) ), even as the government has tried to promote local options.
Rawat said there was no other option but to build a robust domestic defense industrial base, even if indigenous weapons systems were initially produced with “reduced technical specifications” or GSQR (qualitative requirements of general personnel) than those framed by the military. .
“We should push‘ Make in India “by keeping our national industry handy, even if they deliver weapons with only 70% of the GSQRs up front … given the opportunity, they will eventually deliver cutting-edge technology,” he said.
The armed forces often push for imports because they present “unrealistic GSQRs” for weapons systems that DRDO, munitions factories, and national industry simply cannot deliver on time. “We should define GSQRs according to our own operational requirements, and not look at what the United States or other advanced countries have,” said Gen Rawat.
If the armed forces need some high-tech weapon systems that cannot be manufactured indigenously, then the focus should be on partnering with foreign partners for “Make in India” projects with concrete technology transfer. “India started with Maruti-800 but has now become a major hub for car manufacturing,” he said.
The Army, for example, is now importing a limited number of advanced assault rifles and light machine guns for US front-line troops. USA And Israel, but most of its requirements will be met through ‘Make in India’ projects.
The armed forces, while seeking genuine integration and reducing non-operational failures and manpower to reduce income spending and the pension bill, also need to better manage the financial resources available to them. “You will never have the resources you want. Optimal utilization of the available budget is needed, “Rawat said.
There must also be adequate prioritization of operational requirements. The Navy, for example, must decide whether it should push for a third aircraft carrier at this stage. “Anything on the surface can be picked up by satellites and shot down by missiles. I think the Navy needs more submarines instead of aircraft carriers, which in turn require their own individual navies to protect themselves, “he said.
The renewed momentum in ‘Make in India’, by the way, comes after TOI reported last December that none of the major indigenous defense projects: new-generation stealth submarines, minesweepers, infantry fighting vehicles Aircraft, transport planes, fighter jets, and two types of light utility helicopters for the military have actually taken off in the past six years. These seven long-overdue projects, which are collectively worth more than Rs 3.5 lakh crore, are stuck or still meander through different stages, with the final contracts to launch production not inked so far.
Watch Forces have to get rid of their dependence on foreign weapons systems: General Bipin Rawat

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