Flashback 2014: From combatting terror to getting new defence projects, a mixed bag for armed forces
New Delhi, Dec 31: As Armed Forces grappled with steep rise in terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir in 2014 amid heightened tension along the border with Pakistan, fresh breeze blew across the corridors of Defence Ministry which saw the new government pushing for faster acquisition process.
During the year, defence forces launched gigantic rescue and relief operations in Jammu and Kashmir following the devastating floods and in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha after cyclone 'Hudhud' besides being the first to reach out to Maldives after it lone desalination unit caught fire.
But one thing that stood out this year was the new government's pledge to fast track the defence acquisition process in a transparent manner while promoting domestic military industry. Defence proposals worth Rs 1.50 lakh crore were cleared by the Narendra Modi government since it came in power in May.
The ball was set rolling by Arun Jaitley, who was holding the additional charge of defence ministry apart from his finance portfolio. In its first few days in office, the Modi government hiked the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in defence to 49 per cent from the earlier 26 per cent and significantly pruned the list of defence items whose production requires manufacturing licences.
It also lifted an earlier three year lock-in period for foreign investment in defence sector. The NDA government is stressing on indigenisation of the military industry given that India has to import 70 per cent of its defence hardware.
The slew of decisions brought cheers to the Armed Forces which has been facing an uphill task in its modernisation process. "The Armed Forces is not looking at the value of decisions taken.
The high figure of value is because some major projects have been cleared. But we are happy to note the number of decisions that have been taken on the modernisation front," a top defence official said about the new government.