“Make in India” in Indian Defence Space : Bracing Up Core In House Manufacturing Capabilities
Time has come for India to leave the average behind and take a leap to go for global leadership in manufacturing. For Indian manufacturing to soar high and to reach at the top nosh level as per the global benchmarks , “ Make in India” (MII) has given enough fillip to convert this into a reality. Like other manufacturing segments , Indian defense facet being no different is projected to be one of the highly investment seeking sector in the MII campaign. India has been rapidly enhancing its spending on defense year on year. Presently, India stands as the third largest defence spender in the world after US and China. Equipment spending by Ministry of Defence has increased 15-20% over the last five years and is projected grow at a much escalated speed in near future.
Although, India is among the top ten military spenders in the world. However, unlike other geographies which have large defence industries to support their domestic needs , Indian requirements are primarily met by government players into the domain and imports. With importing nearly USD 5.5 Billion worth of military hardware, India has emerged as the largest arms importer in the globe accounting nearly 15% of such imports internationally.
Hence self-reliance to sustain the needs of Indian defence sector is of vital importance for strategic and economic reasons. Since the government has been assiduously working upon building the defence manufacturing capabilities over the years. But to look beyond the customary curve , “Make in India” has triggered the positive sentiments for making India to stand at par with its global counterparts with respect to its in house defense manufacturing competencies.
MII has provided a level playing field not only to the domestic public sector players and international giants to collaborate together but has opened opportunity gates for the domestic private players as well. This will not only significantly cut down the import burden but will also increase the presence of domestic players in the Indian defence manufacturing market. At present, about 50% of the defense manufacturing in India is dominated by the international players (via imports). With enhancing the participation of domestic players in the defense space, the share of imports is projected to drip down by 20-25% in 4-5 years down the line.
Strengthening the Domestic Manufacturing Base: Cutting Down the Imports
For India to build a strong defence manufacturing base in future , collaborating with mature as well as developing markets is the need of the hour. Although countries such France, Russia ,UK etc have been aiding India for its defense requirements since long. About 50% of the military imports of India were cumulatively driven by France & Russia over the past many years. But it’s the time for India to take a step beyond the comfort zone by zeroing down the imports and applying manufacturing expertise pioneered in these nations .Historically, India has always favored public sector over the private players in the defence production space. But, the growing demand of military equipments in the country coupled with the government’s vision to make India a leader in global manufacturing is likely to change the old track and provide new pathways for private players to enter the defence manufacturing space. Not only the domestic private fellows but the international origin firms with expertise in catering the defence requirements have too found a breeding ground for expanding their business within the Indian periphery. Global giants like Dassault , Rafael , Airbus are projected to forge JVs with the Indian players in order to set up strong manufacturing capabilities and R&D bases for India’s defence sector. It is noteworthy that investments to the tune of USD 1 Trillion or may be above are likely to be made via JV route. Not only the major domestic players but the SMEs too are projected to be the highest beneficiaries of increased defence production in the country. Huge supply chains , complying with world class standards will come up around the manufacturing facilities and would help the Indian SMEs to enter the global supply chain of manufacturers.