Come 2020 and the “Make in India” campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 09/2014 seems to be heading into its most decisive phase. We are yet to see the impact of the campaign on the 25 target sectors of the Indian economy as very little analytical studies are available on the subject.
Nevertheless, the expansion of manufacturing sector in terms of investment, capacity, sales and economic value addition takes time sequentially. India has moderately priced resources and quality skillsets to build globally competitive manufacturing excellence, however, we are poor presenters and by and large bad salespeople as compared to our western and far eastern counterparts, consequently our products seldom reach international shores.
The upcoming Defence Expo 2020 at Lucknow is a great event for India’s defence sector to showcase its achievements under the “Make in India” campaign. Being a biennial event, this is perhaps the third defence expo since the launch of the campaign. Pre 2014, the Indian defence industry can safely be termed as moribund. Strong focus under the “Make in India” program has elevated the defence industry to a nascent stage today. Past five years has seen India importing state of art defence systems.
Side by side, we have also seen a number of indigenous defence systems under production through foreign collaboration, off-set deals, tech transfer as well as local innovation. Although all these efforts are still be termed as “experimental” there is no denying the fact that the Indian defence industry has catapulted itself to the world centre stage.
Indian Defence Industry so far was dominated by two groupings viz the Ordinance Factory Board (OFB) and the Defence Public Sector Units (DPSU). They are now joined by private sector enterprises hitherto involved in heavy engineering projects. OFB is a colonial-era player with 41 modern factories, 9 learning centres and a huge infrastructure spread across India.