CDS General Bipin Rawat opined that India will have to be self-reliant if it wants to be a regional power, rather than being dependant on others nations

Amid the global COVID pandemic that has taken the world hostage, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat has opined that India will have to be self-reliant if it wants to be a regional power rather than being dependant on others, adding that the coronavirus pandemic has taught a lesson that India can become self-reliant if given a challenge.

"The way the scientists and other agencies involved in medical research have come up with innovative ideas to produce medical equipment in the country, which we were so far importing, to help us tide over the crisis has been amazing," he said.

He highlighted how the scientists and other agencies have come up with indigenously manufacturing ventilators, Personal protection equipment (PPEs), facial mask and other equipment required in the battle against COVID-19.

"We were importing some components of N95 masks, but DRDO has come up with a different mask here, N99 mask, which I am told is superior to the N95," he asserted.

Speaking of throwing a challenge to indigenous industries and research sector for manufacturing defence arms, ammunition and equipment, he said, "We have been importing our weapons, equipment, ammunition from abroad. If we can give this challenge to our industry, to our academia, and to our own research and development organisations, I think we can start manufacturing our own ammunition, weapons and equipment. We will not have to be dependant on imports and the COVID has taught us a lesson that the time has come for us to be self-reliant."

"In times of crisis, nations will have to live by themselves. A country like India, if we are looking at becoming a regional power, we will have to support other nations and not be dependant on other nations," he added while stressing the need of inhouse manufacturing through Make in India initiative in order to be self-reliant and reducing imports for defence requirements.

He praised the way the health industry has come forward in the fight against the pandemic, and opined that the defence sector research and development can also come forward at the same pace when given a boost and some of the defence sector manufacturing has already started in India, added Rawat.