For achieving self-reliance in defence, focus on other sectors must: PSA

Krishnaswamy VijayRaghavan said with the combination of judicious local manufacturing and imports, one can capture local and international markets in key sectors
For achieving Aatmanirbharata (self-reliance) in the area of defence, it is necessary to achieve self-sufficiency in other areas, and also map core capabilities and efficiencies in the country, Principal Scientific Adviser K VijayRaghavan said on Thursday.

He also stressed that in the current times manufacturing is substantially dominated by ideas and designs of products, as much as it is by the actual process of manufacturing and distribution.

Even if the product is manufactured within the country or abroad, the design remains within the country, he said.

This can be done with entwining of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), the defence public sector undertaking, the services, the academia, start-ups and industry, the principal scientific adviser stressed.

He said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has highlighted how vital it is to be protected from the disruption of global supply chains.

Even if much of the manufacturing takes place in one location, if the import of many components and systems or materials are high, the situation can be very fragile, he noted.

"This is particularly true of areas such as defence, cybersecurity, health, communications etc. One can see that the number of areas where Aatmanirbharata is required is not small. Indeed, it seems to encompass almost everything we do," VijayRaghavan said.

He was speaking in a webinar 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat, Defence Industry Outreach', organised by the FICCI.

"For attending Aatmanirbharata in defence, you attend to Atmanirbharata everywhere," VijayRaghavan said.

To achieve the goal of self-reliance, the principal scientific adviser emphasised on having a detailed and dynamic map of the country's core capabilities and also the ones which it has lost recently.

It is also necessary to map core efficiencies, he added.

"There are many areas where we are not capable and we need to rejig to see how we can be competitive...is it necessary to be competitive in every area, if not then which are the areas we are going to choose," VijayRaghavan said.

This analysis, he said, is not only important in components and systems but also in terms of what the global competition is now.

He said with the combination of judicious local manufacturing and imports, one can capture local and international markets in key sectors.

"To some, it may seem as a formidable task, but it is not merely a technological challenge. It is a combination of technology, economics, politics, finance about how you can market and export," he said.

The formidable task can be achieved by having a shared sense of purpose --- the entire ecosystem for services and defence, DRDO organisations, public sector undertakings, the private sector and academia.

"If the sense of shared purpose is there, then we can take on these complex tasks very easily," he said.

He said it is also essential to break down complexities in individual components and see which are the components the entire system can agree with, not compromising on time and cost.

Stressing on designing, he said, "While India pays increasing attention to the manufacturing sector and enhancing our capabilities here, we should enhance our capabilities in design and development.


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