A step closer to ocean supremacy
Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had once famously said, “To be safe on land, we must be supreme at sea”. Nehru’s dream of a strong blue water force seems to be finally becoming a reality with India taking big leaps in manufacturing indigenous warships on a par with the global powers.
Circa 2015 will go down in the history of the Indian Navy as the year when it finally started its journey of transforming itself from a “buyer’s Navy” to a “builder’s Navy”. October 28, 2015 was a proud moment for India when the INS Kalvari, the first of the six Scorpene submarines being built indigenously for the naval force, was set afloat at the Mazagon Dockyard.
There is not an iota of doubt that the leadership of our Navy is in capable hands, but it is also true that our sea force should also be technologically self-reliant. Our Cover Story explores how the Indian Defence PSU, the Mazagon Dockyard Limited, is modernizing itself to make the Indian Navy self-reliant and thereby becoming one of the largest and most powerful navies in the world.
Today India is living in a troubled neighbourhood and defending its borders has become a huge challenge. Unfortunately, in today’s era a war cannot be won only by dedication and bravery. A country needs to be technologically superior and self-reliant to win a battle. Lack of technological superiority leaves a country vulnerable. Our men in uniforms deserve the best. Unfortunately, in the Indian Navy, most submarines being currently operated are past their operational life.
We are seeking a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. Yet unlike other major global powers, India remains the largest importer of defence hardware in the world. The time has come when we need to change the tag.
There is a need to acknowledge at every level of the Government that the Defence PSUs as well as the private sector are capable of playing an important role in modernizing India’s defence capabilities. Though the situation has started improving, much still needs to be done.
There is an urgent need to address the research and development issue in the defence sector. Also the Government needs to improve the ease of doing business in this sector. We have seen in the past how procedural delays and bureaucratic red tape often caused a greater loss to the exchequer in defence procurements.
The road ahead is long. However, with a clear vision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ project can become the best chance to evolve India into a world-class defence manufacturing nation.