Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has put forth a strong case for the defence forces fighting the next war with indigenously built weapons. The Army Chief has harped for a greater collaboration between the corporate sector and the armed forces to bolster the military arsenal and platforms for combat preparedness.
It is notable that the Indian army has been on an acquisition spree of late to modernise much of its combat arsenal with the cutting edge weaponry.
Given the fact that the political relations with neighbours Pakistan have deteriorated to an all time low and the ongoing insurgency engulfing the Kashmir Valley scaling lofty heights, the Indian Army is gearing up on all fronts to keep its defence intact.
"Indian armed forces must fight the next war with indigenous solutions," he said while addressing a seminar organised jointly by the army and the Indian Technical Textil Association.
State-owned Israel Aerospace Industries had confirmed that it has closed another major deal worth USD 630 million with India to supply advanced long-range and missile defence systems for four ships of the Indian Navy.
India’s artillery modernisation plans got a jump start on Thursday as after three decades of limbo, the Indian Army got first modern 155mm artillery guns.
Two of the 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers ordered from the US arrived in New Delhi on Thursday morning. The guns will be tested at Pokhran in the evening on the anniversary of Pokhran test in 1974.
The deal, a major boost to the ‘Make in India’ campaign, will be jointly executed with the Indian government’s Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), and comes close on the heels of Israel’s largest defence contract ever worth USD 2 billion to supply the Indian Army and Navy with missile defence systems.
Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani told the gathering that the National Textile Corporation will have a specialised facility to develop clothes and other gear for the armed forces.
"There must be effective engagement between the armed forces and the industry," the army chief added. He also referred to combat dress and boots being supplied to the US Army by the Indian private sector and said there was a lot of scope for cooperation between the army and the domestic textile industry for developing dress material and other gear for the forces.
"There is huge budget with the Army that has been spent on textiles. It is high time that we look for indigenous solutions," he said. His comments come two days after the defence ministry broadly finalised a much-awaited policy under which select private firms will be roped in to build military platforms like submarines and fighter jets in India in partnership with foreign entities.
India is a leading importer of arms and military platforms globally and the current government has been maintaining that indigen sat manufacturing is of defence a priority area.
Rawat said discussions at the seminar must not be confined to files and official papers and practical steps must be taken to boost cooperation between the armed forces and the textile industry.
Irani said there must be cohesive alignment of cooperation between the textile industry and the armed forces.