Indigenization of Defense Sector

Editorial Analysis for IAS - Nord Stream Pipeline

Indigenization of Defense Sector





  • The Government of India is promoting “Make in India” for self-reliance in the defense sector, which is evident in the several initiatives it has taken that favour potential Indian vendors in terms of indigenization and technology development.
  • The intention is to encourage Indian firms to design, develop and manufacture defence equipment at the system, subsystem and component levels, with indigenization and self-reliance as primary focal areas.



  • Noticeably, policies like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ are aimed at minimising imports by creating a robust ecosystem for nurturing private industries and optimisation of DPSUs and Ordnance Board. At the same time, foreign companies are encouraged to set up design, development and manufacture of military equipment in India so as to boost Indian economy and for creating job opportunities in India.
  • Defence Procurement Manual, Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 and Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 encourage innovation and indigenization in private industries, and are aimed at creating a dynamic, robust and competitive industry base so as to reduce dependence on imports and for promoting exports.
  • The financial assistance to academia for research and development and the recent declaration of celebrating 16 January as the ‘Start-Ups Day’ henceforth, shows the government’s seriousness towards rewarding innovation and indigenization in start-ups
  • Strategic Partnership Model has been proposed for Indian industries to collaborate with foreign OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and to seek Transfer of Technology to build  the capability to develop and manufacture equipment in India.
  • Additionally, there are other initiatives like setting up Defence Corridors across states, conduct of defence exhibitions, seminars by autonomous bodies like Confederation of Indian Industry, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, etc., and tri-services interactive forums with industries.



Special Emphasis on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS):

  • Analysts point out that India is at least a decade behind Pakistan and even further behind China in the UAV sector. 
  • The “iron brothers” Pakistan and China have been closely collaborating in the development of and acquisition of various military platforms and weapons, including combat drones. 
  • China had relied on UAVs and built a robust aviation Programme right from the 1950s.
  • Government support, reliable infrastructure, quality education, research and development have collectively helped China in this domain.
  • Collaboration and joint ventures with other countries and clandestine operations also aided China in its objectives.
  • Pakistan on the other side owes the development of its Programme to the PSUs and support extended by China.
  • The private sector also has a significant role to play.
  • PSUs and more private industries focus on medium and small UAVs due to economic affordability, export value and low cost.

Source: THE HINDU.