Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday called for innovations in the field of ammunition for the creation of a “strong and self-reliant” base that keeps the Armed Forces fully prepared to deal with future challenges.
He was addressing the inaugural session of the second conference on Military Ammunition (Ammo India) on the theme “Make in India Opportunities and Challenges” in New Delhi.
The Defence Minister described advanced ammunition as the “reality of the new age warfare, which is a must for India, given its regional & global imperatives and security challenges”.
“Scientific & technological as well as the economic development of a nation is reflected in the capacity of its weapons and ammunition. The development of ammunition is crucial not only for security, but also for socio-economic progress of the country. For India to become a world power and one of the leading countries in defence production, we must move forward in the indigenous design, development & production of ammunition,” he asserted.
Singh noted that the government, realising the “crucial role” that the private sector can play in strengthening the defence sector, has removed “many barriers”, which were earlier prevalent.
He said, from capping the participation of bidders, criteria of financial eligibility or the issue of credit ratings, the government has given considerable relaxation.
He exhorted the public and private sectors, research and development establishments, start-ups, academia and individual innovators to explore newer avenues which can create a base that caters to the needs of the Armed Forces, ensuring their enhanced preparedness.
Singh also emphasised the importance of precision guided ammunition, saying that it will play a major role in future warfare due to its constantly-evolving nature. “The employment of precision guided ammunition at ‘Muntho Dhalo’ base played an important role in India’s victory in 1999 Kargil war. It also ensured success during 2019 strikes on terror camps in Balakot. Earlier, only the size and explosive capacity of bombs mattered, but now their smartness is equally important.”
The Defence Minister reiterated the government’s commitment to achieve “Aatmanirbharta in Defence”, and said that all efforts are being made to empower the domestic industry, which can equip the Armed Forces with home-grown world-class weapons/systems, crucial for bolstering national security.
He pointed out that the three positive indigenisation lists notified by Ministry of Defence clearly indicate the government’s emphasis towards indigenous manufacturing of ammunition. “Be it Guided Extended Range rockets for Pinaka, Advanced Light Weight Torpedo, Anti-Radiation Missiles or Loitering Munition, there are 43 such items in the third list.”
Singh appreciated the fact that six of the seven new defence companies, which were carved out of the erstwhile Ordnance Factory Board, have reported profit within six months of their inception.
Munitions India Limited has received export orders worth Rs 500 crore, he said, terming the achievement as an indicator to the huge potential of the ammunition industry in the country.
The Defence Minister also inaugurated an exhibition showcasing products developed by the Indian Navy, DPSUs and the private sector.