After a gap of four years, DefExpo is taking place in February. And the issue in your hand is the special on the show. Yet, it is not driven by industry updates alone. There are both updates from the industry and perspective from the users. All under the umbrella of Make in India that has been the favourite theme of the Modi government since it assumed office in 2014.
However, given that it has not performed as was expected, we decided to reach out to three stake-holders to understand how things could be accelerated. Since the land forces use the lion’s share of the annual defence budget, we spoke with the chief of army staff, General M.M. Naravane. While sharing the army’s long term operational and acquisition thinking, he spoke about the need for disruptive technologies like Artificial Intelligence, 5th generation wireless networks, robotics, unmanned systems and so on. The Army Design Bureau, created in 2016, is where these technologies are to be incubated in partnership with the private industry and academia.
Following this, we interviewed the senior executive vice president of L&T, Jayant Patil. Not only is L&T the leading private sector defence company, it also has expertise across domains, from land to sea. Jayant Patil gave the perspective of the private industry towards indigenisation. It was always clear that without level playing field to the private industry, India’s defence-industrial base would not be optimised for Make in India.
The third interview is with the Russian ambassador to India, Nikolay Kudashev. India has had traditionally strong ties with Russia from where the bulk of military platforms still come. But this was not the reason for this interview. Considering Russia has been at the forefront of sharing it’s top-of-line technologies with India, we wanted to understand its stance on new age disruptive technologies – whether and how much it would be willing to share with India. As expected, ambassador Kudashev appeared willing to walk the distance in supporting India.
Of course, there is much more in the issue than these three interviews. In fact, for the visitors to DefExpo, there is a special treat in the form of an exclusive interview with the DRDO Chief that appears in Show Daily 1. Bite in.