India had an age-old experience in making arms and military equipment but after Independence this capacity was not strengthened, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday, asserting that now the country is committed to enhancing its capabilities in defence manufacturing at a fast pace.
Addressing a webinar on the effective implementation of the Union Budget’s provisions in the defence sector, the prime minister listed a series of measures taken by his government to boost self-reliance in the defence sector.
“Before Independence, we used to have hundreds of ordnance factories. In both the World Wars, arms were exported from India on a large scale, but after Independence due to a number of reasons, this system was not strengthened as much as it should have,” he said.
“The condition is such that even for small arms we have to look at other nations. India is amongst the biggest defence importers and this is not a matter of pride,” Modi stressed.
He said it was not that the people of India do not have the talent or capability and pointed out that India did not make ventilators before the coronavirus period but now manufactures thousands of ventilators.
“An India that could reach Mars could have made modern weapons also but it became an easy way to import weapons from abroad,” he said.
But now India is working hard to change the situation and is committed to enhance its capacities and capabilities at a fast pace, the prime minister asserted.
Modi said with initiatives like de-licensing, de-regulation, export promotion, foreign investment liberalisation, the government has taken several measures to give the defence manufacturing sector a boost.
He said with the establishment of the chief of defence staff post, bringing uniformity in the procurement process and induction of equipment has become easy.