Defence Policy: Private sector to get role in R

New Delhi, Jan 11 (PTI) India will unveil on Thursdayits maiden Defence Production Policy that will lay stress onreducing dependence on imports and enhancing domestic armsmanufacturing base by allowing private sector for the firsttime to engage in research and development in the field.

The DPP, which will be released by Defence Minister A KAntony, states that only those systems and platforms would beimported which can''t be developed indigenously in specifiedtime frames and are essential for meeting the criticalrequirements of armed forces.

Under the policy, private sector will have an enhancedrole in defence manufacturing and research and development,which so far has been the domain of public sector only.

With the new policy, the Government aims to develop astrong domestic defence-industrial base to ensure that thecountry''s strategic autonomy is not circumscribed, defenceministry officials said.

It will also help in creating employment, they added.

The policy, which was finalised in December last year,has already been cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council(DAC).

The policy states that futuristic weapon systemsrequired in next eight to ten years would be specified andwould be developed within the country after designatedcommittees analyse the long-term integrated perspective plansof the armed forces.

These committees will include representatives from theministry, armed forces, DRDO and will also organisepartnerships between academia and industry.

The policy also states that the government would givepreference to indigenous design, development and manufactureof defence equipment, which would come from both the Publicand Private sector.

The defence sector was opened up in 2001-2002 to 100per cent private investment and 26 per cent foreign directinvestment was also allowed but this has not yet produced thedesired results.

Announcing a major policy change last week, theMinistry had come up with its new Defence Procurement Policy,which expanded the scope of defence offsets to civil aerospaceand internal security industry.

The less-than-expected output by DRDO, defence PSUsand 39 ordnance factories has meant that India still importsover 70 per cent of its military requirements.

India is one of the largest importers of militaryhardware and post-Kargil war, it has inked arms deals worthover USD 50 billion since the 1999 Kargil conflict.

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