PM Narendra Modi recently emphasised the need of “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India) in his address to the nation on May 12. A similar sentiment was shared by defence minister Rajnath Singh while addressing the DRDO scientists on the occasion of National Technology Day (NTD) through a video conference.

“We always have to keep in mind that there is no alternative to indigenous technology and indigenous manufacture. We will be truly self-reliant only when India succeeds in becoming a net exporter instead of a net importer of technology,” said Rajnath Singh.

He added that the defence organisations are tackling the challenges by COVID-19 using the state of the art technology. He applauded the efforts of DRDO for developing more than 50 products in the last three-four months, like bio-suit, sanitiser dispenser, PPE kits, to contribute to the fight against COVID-19.

According to a report published last month by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Global Military expenditure in 2019, India was the third-largest military spenders in the world after the US and China.

India’s military expenditure grew by 6.8 per cent to $71.1 billion. ‘India’s tensions and rivalry with both Pakistan and China are among the major drivers for its increased military spending,’ said Siemon T. Wezeman, SIPRI Senior Researcher.

However, most of the expenditure is on importing defence equipment including the $3 billion in defence deal signed by India and the US. The deal includes the procurement of 24 MH-60R Seahawk Multi-Role Helicopters for the Navy and six AH-64E attack helicopters for the Army.

Make In India – Biggest Challenges

Under the ‘Make in India’ initiative by the Modi government, New Delhi has been promoting local defence production since it came to power in 2014. Currently, there are three army projects listed on the government portal namely Terminal End Secrecy Device (TESD), Tactical Communication System (TCS), Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) costing a total of around 30 thousand crores.