India is a vast nation, both in terms of landmass and population with enormous conflicts with two of its nuclear-powered neighbours Pakistan and China. India is a peace-loving nation but its working can be understood by famous Latin saying “Si vis Pacem, Para Bellum” which loosely translates to “If you want PEACE, prepare for WAR”. To protect its sovereignty, integrity and National interests, and to feed its 1.44 million warriors a huge lot of advanced weaponry is required. To meet this demand India looked west, big arms exporters exploited this vulnerability of our nation and gained major checks. India due to lack of its indigenous weapon industry’s lack of sufficiency was forced to accept imports as a norm to meet obligations.
India is the world’s second-largest arms importer from 2014-18, giving up the long-held tag as the largest importer to Saudi Arabia. It accounted for 12% of the total imports during that period.
Indian imports decreased by about 24% during 2009-2018, citing delays in deliveries of weapons produced by international suppliers, such as Fighter aircraft ordered from Russia in 2001 and submarines from France in 2008.
Russia accounts for 58% of Indian arms imports, compared to 76% in 2009-13. Israel, the United States and France all have increased their arms exports to India. The Russian share in Indian imports is likely to go up sharply during as India signed several big-ticket deals recently, and more are in talks. These deals include S-400 air defence systems, stealth frigates, AK-203 assault rifles, and deals for Kamov-226 helicopters, Mi-17 combat helicopters and short-range air defence systems.
As India reduced imports, Russian exports of arms were dented, decreasing by 17% between 2009 and 2018.
- Now a major question formulates. What is the reason behind this insufficiency of Indian Arms Industry?
- European nations were under total crisis during the world war, they were in pressure to supply their soldiers with weapons to fight, this high demand of weapons caused industrialists to invest on production and hence established big arms Industries. After settling from war and its aftermaths, these nations started exporting theirs produces to neutral grounds. Many tactics were employed to keep this demand stable, new rebellious groups were funded, terrorists were raised, governments were unstabilised, nations were threatened, and proxy wars were waged all over. The timing of Independence of India and conflicts with neighbours created a big potential market in India and continuous wars over that time kept the demand thrive.
- No country is always at war, and the arms industry is one such industry that wants regular and stable consumers. European Nations along with the United States have lenient policies for possession of arms, but India has a strict policy because of high risks of misuse, due to this regional Arms Industry has never been able to hold ground in India.
In the tenure of Modi Government, policies have been modified to reduce the dependency of India on imports by increasing domestic production. There have been observed conclusive increase in Indian Defence exports.
Make in India
The Narendra Modi government cleared 39 procurement proposals worth 889 billion (96% of the value of total proposals) were categorized as Buy Indian and Buy and Make Indian—
The government’s policies encouraged domestic production and export of defence equipment under Narendra Modi’s flagship scheme Make in India in Defence. It has resulted in conclusive growth of defence export from the country as it jumped by 7 times in just two years, from $213 million in FY 2016–17 to $1.5 billion in FY 2018–19.
In July 2015, the MoD eased policies of export regulations and terminated asking multiple assurances on end-use from foreign governments.
FDI in Defence
Even though Narendra Modi government has been toiling hard to get FDI in the defence sector, firstly by raising the cap from 26% to 49% through Direct route and 100% through Ministry of Defence’s approval, whereby the investing foreign entity can have ownership up to 100% in the defence manufacturing.
India is dependent on imports especially on western nations, but humungous steps have been taken to reduce this dependency and these steps are now producing evident results. All that is required to be done now is keep the momentum going and gain independence in this sector as this will be a booster towards gaining Super Power Status
~By Shubham Yadav