The Centre should focus on upgrading ordnance factory boards as it sets out to lower dependence on defence equipment imports. The needed upgrades are spread across designing of modern weapons and improving operational efficiencies, according to defence sector experts.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Defence proposed a negative list of 101 items that should not be imported into the country. The Centre’s aim is to build self-sufficiency in defence equipment production at the earliest.
“We are way behind in terms of technology and that further delays manufacturing of crucial defence equipment products. The Defence Research Development Organisation needs to be primed up to ensure that the Ordnance Factories are better prepared to meet the requirements of modern warfare,” said K Dwarkanath, Former Director General, Ordnance Factories and Chairman, Ordnance Factory Board.
“Unlike other profit oriented corporate entities, the Ordnance Factory Board maintains spare capacity to ramp up production if demand increases. This a situation that arises in a wartime scenario. There needs to be a better assessment parameter for gauging the capability of Ordnance Factories and then accordingly improve their operations,” he added.
While the Ordnance Factories need overhaul, the domestic defence equipment manufacturing industry seems confident about the prospects of the negative list.
“It is more than just attainable. In fact, given the support of the Services, the Indian defence industry can target to achieve higher indigenous content,” the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) said in response to queries from BusinessLine.