Govt to enhance domestic defence prod capabilities

New Delhi: With the country depending on foreign vendors for more than 70 per cent of its military hardware needs, Government today said its focus is to enhance domestic defence production capabilities to increase self- reliance.

Addressing a joint sitting of the Parliament, President Pratibha Patil said the Government is aiming to develop the three Services as "modern and technologically most advanced forces" to meet the security challenges in the future.

"Our focus is on enhancing domestic defence production capabilities as well as achieving technological self-reliance in weapons and delivery system," she said.

India is one of the largest importers of military hardware in the world but relies heavily on imported systems for more than 70 per cent of its defence needs.

In the recent years, Defence Minister A K Antony has taken several measures to enhance self reliance including the formulation a Defence Procurement Policy and a Defence Production Policy (DPP).

The President in her address said in the years ahead, "our aim is to make our armed forces among the technologically most advanced in the world." She listed the successful test-firing of 3,500 km-range Agni-IV missile and the proposed induction of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas into the Indian Air Force (IAF) as the major milestones in the recent past.

The Government also expressed its commitment towards the welfare of all Service personnel and ex-servicemen. "Our armed forces are known for their professionalism, discipline and devotion to duty. The Government is committed to ensuring the welfare of all our servicemen and ex- servicemen," she said.