Self reliance imp for meeting defence needs:Army Chief

New Delhi: Army Chief Gen V K Singh, who raised the issue of battle preparedness of the force, today said there was a need for attaining self reliance in meeting defence needs.

Addressing an aerospace and defence conference organized by ASSOCHAM here, the Army Chief spoke in favour of a sound industrial base with increased participation of private sector and increased coordination among industries, government and the defence forces.

"We need a strategic vision for ensuring self reliance and maintaining an independent capability, because of the two pillars our policy is based on. These two pillars are that our country has got no extra territorial ambition and it does not want to transplant its ideology on anybody," Gen Singh said.

He noted the requirement to develop a capability to equip the armed forces without getting influenced by external factors. "This demands that we have independent capability to equip our armed forces, a capability that does not get influences by too much of dependence on external factors," he added.

The Army Chief had written a letter to the Prime Minister raising concerns over the preparedness of the Indian Army, modernisation and acquisition process.

Noting that the Indian defence industry has come a long way since its early days and is now capable of developing complex systems and technologies, the Army Chief asked them to understand the policies properly. "The private sector participation has been debated for a long time. While in the national economic policies there have been institutional and policy oriented changes, we need to ensure that our industry understands the complex web of linkages which determine national policies in defence industrial sector," he said.

Observing that joint ventures need a greater analysis to ensure indigenous production, Gen Singh said, "Joint ventures must go to joint design and development as well as co-production if we want to enhance the scope of participation in defence related ventures."

On challenges being faced by private industry, he said, "First is access to the proven technology, how do we get it and who will give it you? What kind of arrangement you will make to get this technology and ensure that our human resource is capable of going ahead with this technology." He said the research and development aspect also needs to be factored in for producing cutting edge technology.

On Transfer of Technology, he said the focus should be on value addition and improvement of the product. "We need to look at value addition and product improvement and understand the need of the armed forces and have a much closer interaction so that we can take it forward," Gen Singh said.

For meeting business and profit requirement of private industries, he prescribed a closer coordination between industry, government, ministries and armed forces. He said the Offset Policy has been designed to assist domestic defence industry which needs to be analyzed in greater details to promote greater interaction between industry and governemnt.

On imports substitution, the army chief said that "We need to ensure that this becomes in the ratio of 70-30, in favor of own industry".