Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar is credited with the stance of some critical policies in defence, particularly those that have quickly reached out to startups and private industry. This alumnus of IIT Kanpur, emphasises the Indian government’s focus on indigenisation of defence production and wooing investment into the sector in a chat with Manish Kumar Jha
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in defence was just about $2.18 million during 2018-19. Is it time to revisit the policy on FDI?
Only companies which require licence under the Industrial Act need government approval for bringing FDI and that too, only if the FDI is over 49 per cent. Other defence and aerospace companies do not require approval for bringing in FDI. Therefore, complete information on FDI flows in defence and aerospace is not available.
Based on information collected from industry sources, FDI of over Rs 3,134 crore has so far been received in the defence and aerospace sectors. Out of this, 34 companies in the defence and aerospace sector have reported FDI of over Rs 1,812 crore since 2014.
What are the implications of the newly formed Department of Military Affairs (DMA)?
Formation of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and the DMA are among the biggest reforms in the history of the defence establishment. It was also long awaited. It will promote greater coordination between the services and greater integration of the forces with the ministry. I think the reform will greatly boost the capabilities of our defence forces and enhance our overall security. Several committees have studied modernisation of the defence forces. The Department of Defence and DMA are working together and within the first few weeks we have made significant progress.
We have already transferred nearly 60 officers from the Department of Defence to the DMA to enable smooth functioning of the DMA. Both the CDS and I have great understanding and I look forward to working with him to achieve the goals of this reform.