A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged countrymen to become self-reliant in the wake of coronavirus pandemic and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh asked the Services to spend the funds prudently, Chief of Defence Staff(CDS) General Bipin Rawat on Sunday said India will have to be self-reliant in order to become a regional power.
Making this point here, he gave the example of Indian health and pharmaceutical industry which stepped up in a major way when the pandemic hit the country and was now indigenously producing ventilators and medicines. Rawat asked the defence industry to take a leaf out of the health industry’s book. His remarks come in the backdrop of India importing more than 70 per cent of its military hardware and listed as one of the biggest buyers of weapons in the world.
Rawat said India will have to be self-reliant to become a regional power and said key lessons thrown up by the crisis include the Indian industry rising to the occasion and called for making the best of the situation after the pandemic challenge recedes. He also said “discipline and patience” helped the defence services in checking the spreading of virus adding the novel coronavirus has affected Army, Air Force and Navy in a “limited manner”.
On the lessons imbibed during the ongoing challenge, he said “the way these scientists, medical agencies involved have come up with ideas to produce the equipment required in the country, which we were so far importing, has been amazing.”
“In a short span of four to six weeks, we started manufacturing ventilators in the country. There are some key lessons for us in the defence services. We have been importing ammunition from abroad… but if this challenge is thrown to academia, we can make it in the country. The time has now come to be self-reliant. In times of crisis, countries will have to be self-dependent,” he told ANI.
“If we are looking at becoming a regional power, India will have to support other nations. The manner in which the health industry has come forth, I am sure that the defence sector can come forward at the same pace,” Rawat asserted.
Modi, in his video conference interaction with the sarpanch on Friday, exhorted the youth to be self-reliant and said “Coronavirus has sent so many challenges our way, but we must always learn from the situation we are in in life. It has given us a lot to think about and taught about the way we act. It has made it absolutely clear that we have to depend only on ourselves for our survival.”