“Warfare is changing and so are the threats, especially for India. There are collusive threats from our neighbouring nations, border intrusions across terrestrial borders and the new phenomenon of multi-front warfare spanning borders, electronic and cyber domains,” Gen Rawat said, speaking at the Def-Tech India conference here.
Urging the private sector to team up with the armed forces “to innovate world-class solutions”, the CDS said indigenisation was the only way forward. The 15-lakh armed forces are being reorganised and rightsized into a leaner and agile military driven by technology in space, cyber, electronic warfare and Special Forces. The Army, Navy and IAF have all created structures and organizations to give impetus to indigenisation.
“India’s aspirations of being a regional power can no longer be held hostage to arms imports. During the period 2016-2020, we have remained the world’s second largest arms importer, although the latest data on global arms transfer shows that our arms imports have come down by 33% since 2016, indicating momentum in the ‘Make in India’ initiative,” the CDS said.
The ‘silver lining’ is that India has reached the 24th position on the list of global arms exporters, with 0.2% of the market share. “This in absolute terms is bare minimum. However, the thrust is evident. India has a target to increase its defence exports to $5 billion by the year 2024,” he added.
The Indian defence production sector is today at an inflection point poised to take off. “It is a matter of pride for every soldier to use high quality indigenous equipment and we have the capability and capacity to achieve this,” he said.
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