Soon after Narendra Modi assumed office as India’s prime minister for the first time in 2014, his government announced an ambitious plan to “Make in India”, a set of initiatives that were to transform the country into a global manufacturing hub, rejuvenating its flagging economic growth and generating much-needed jobs. Six years later, “Make in India” was on life support. It turned out that global investors and companies wanted more than persuasive speeches and flashy ads – better infrastructure and serious reforms of the factor markets, for a start.
Modi’s initiative was also supposed to have boosted indigenous defense manufacturing. Between 2015-19, India was the world’s second largest weapons importer (falling into the number-two spot after a decade) depending on Russia, United States, France as well as Israel, for vital platforms and weapons ranging from stealth frigates and combat aircraft to brass tack items such as anti-tank guided missiles and even assault rifles.
Precisely why this is the case is a long and depressing story, the upshots being path dependence on certain platforms, poor performance by the military-technical laboratories
Source: The Diplomat