‘This Is The Time To Reform & Transform, To Prioritise Our Needs, Build Locally’

NEW DELHI: India’s armed forces are on Mission Reform. The effort is being driven by the newly appointed Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat and the Department of Military Affairs. From restructuring commands to joint logistics and seamless communication, the focus is on making the forces ready for the battlefield of the future.

In this exclusive interview with Nitin Gokhale, Editor in Chief StratNews Global, Gen Rawat covered a wide range of issues including allowing 74% FDI in defence through the automatic route. In his view, this would boost Make in India and also ensure a steady flow of technologies into areas where there is a deficit.

The new commands including a maritime command will help project power into the Indian Ocean, he said, even as India looks to design and manufacture weapons systems and platforms locally. Given that India’s security concerns are limited, it makes sense for the armed forces to hand-hold local industry to make arms using local technologies, labour and at lower cost.

He acknowledged that the coronavirus will impact the military’s effort to reform and transform since budgets will be constrained. But the military is looking to prioritise its acquisitions and is limiting imports. It is also looking at monetising its land bank, reducing the pension payout by extending the retirement age and tapping India’s defence attaches posted abroad to boost the sale of Indian made military equipment in the countries they are posted in.