Mumbai: Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane at the release of commemorative coin, seminar, and panel discussion on 'Emerging technologies and future of shipbuilding' at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL), asserted that the needs of India cannot be met by the industries of other countries and that India has to become self-reliant in the sector of manufacturing.

While addressing the 250th Foundation Day of Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited in Mumbai, Giridhar Aramane said, "India is such a country that its needs cannot be met by the industries of other countries... It is impossible for us to depend on others for a consistent supply of anything - whether it's food grains or most modern equipment. We have to manufacture for ourselves."

Emphasising on the need to develop the capacity within the country, Aramane said, "With a vast coastline, spanning several thousands of kilometers and several island chains, we need to develop the capacity within India. For that, we need several technologies which we do not have and we don't have any visibility of their being supplied by our friends from abroad..."

The Defence Secretary also asserted that it is necessary to collaborate with institutions and youngsters who are enthusiastic about initiating their startups and contributing to the country, "Domestic solutions by innovation will be difficult to come by if we don't engage with the academic institutions and the young innovators who are very enthusiastic about starting their own companies, and startups and contributing to the country," he said.

Praising the country, Aramane said that India has been a maritime country for ages. "India occupies a central role in the Indo-Pacific... India has been a maritime country for centuries... We forgot somewhere down the line. It was briefly revived during Chhatrapati Shivaji's time in Maharashtra. However, because our battles were fought on land... We didn't give so much importance to the Navy - building our capacity in shipbuilding practices. It caused immense harm to us for a period of time. From 19th century onwards, we have been again building up our capabilities..."

Encouraging the privatisation, Aramane said, "Again, time has to come to give a free hand to our enterprise, where we encourage the private sector industry to acquire those instincts to contribute to the nation's growth. In this context, MDL has a major role. You (MDL) were a private company initially, and then you became a public sector company. Now again, you have to work with the private sector industry in a major fashion, build a consortium of ship builders, meet the needs of our country... and also contribute to our friendly countries, both to the west and east of our country."

The Defence Secretary asserted that the Indian Navy is now playing a major role in contributing to the safety and protection of the Indo-Pacific region. He said, "India is a member of the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative... PM gave importance as a concept to the Indo-Pacific, which has now been accepted by the US and other major players in the world. They consider India to contribute to the safety and security of this region - the entire Indian Ocean as well as adjoining areas of the Pacific Ocean. The Indian Navy is playing a major role."

He added further, "We now send our ships and submarines to the entire Southeast Asia. Our ships constantly travel to East African coast and our role in Arabian Sea has acquired a lot of laurels recently. We will continue to do this and the situation in the geopolitics is such that India has to play a major role which requires shipbuilders in India to contribute in a major fashion."

Talking about the impacts of the ongoing wars on the defence industry, Aramane said, "The Defence Industry worldwide is facing a capacity crunch, whether it's ammunition or land platforms which are in great demand because of the Russia-Ukraine war."

He added, "Also, the new technologies, asymmetric warfare which is being carried out in the Red Sea as well as in the Gulf are an indication that there will be continued demand for next several years to build up the inventories and to fulfil or refurbish whatever is being blown up in the two wars (Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas) which are raging across the world. So, we must build a capacity to meet the security needs of ourselves and also the other friendly countries."

(With Agency Inputs)