The government has been negotiating the details of its Rafale purchase with Dassault Aviation, “and this process cannot be cut short,” a defense ministry official says.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government is aiming to increase local production of weapons and reduce imports. The government seeks to raise the proportion of defense equipment produced at home to 75% from about 30% over the next 10 years.
“We are very serious about indigenization,” Antony says. “I don’t believe that there can be zero imports in defense, but we want to substantially reduce imports.” The government is reviewing defense procurement and defense production policy so as to speed up the indigenization process.
In 2011, the government revised its policy on military procurement, to boost local defense production. The new procedures added a “buy and make Indian” provision. For contracts that require certain expertise, only local companies, including joint ventures with overseas companies, can enter bids.
India can enter the top tier of defense exporters, but to attain that position the country has to build adequate capacity and skill, says Tom Captain, U.S. aerospace and defense practice leader for Deloitte LLP.
“Information technology applications in defense, including in cyberwarfare, could be a great area where India could be a pioneer,” Captain says. “The world needs this and India can take leadership in the next 10 years. India could be a giant in the defense world.”
Rafale photo: Dassault