India launches 2 defence production corridors in 2018

The projects, in line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative, come as part of a broader strategy to make the nation self-reliant in defence manufacturing. This goal has been reaffirmed with the announcement of the 2019-20 Union Budget that allotted a record-high sum of more than US$44.7 billion for defence and security

March 8, 2019

The 10th edition of DefExpo' for the first time projected India's growing defence manufacturing capabilities to the world, spanning across shipbuilding, missiles, aircrafts, tanks, among others

The defence corridor scheme for Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu envisages six to eight Defence Testing Infrastructure, depending upon requirement of the lab, with grant of over US$57 million

'Defence India Startup Challenge' launched in August 2018 with the objective of making India self-reliant for meeting the requirements of national defence though local R&D and production

‘Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti’ launched in November to boost Intellectual Property rights in Indian defence sector. This will help move from seeking foreign technology to creating Indian IP

The year 2018 was critical for India in terms of defence and security as Ministry of Defence announced policies to set up two defence production corridors, one each in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The projects, in line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative, come as part of a broader strategy to make the nation self-reliant in defence manufacturing. This goal has been reaffirmed with the announcement of the 2019-20 Union Budget that allotted a record-high sum of more than US$44.7 billion for defence and security. Meanwhile, the 10th edition of the biennial ‘DefExpo’ organised in April 2018 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, had carried the tagline ‘India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub’.

In November, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had launched the ‘Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti’ to migrate from the culture of seeking Transfer of Technology (ToT) from foreign sources to generating Intellectual Property in India. In 2018, India’s defence capacity also strengthened with the development of air-to-air refuelling system for military aircraft. India’s light combat aircraft ‘Tejas’ completed mid-air refuelling trial by transferring 1,900 kgs fuel from IAF IL78 mid-air refuelling tanker. Meanwhile, financial decision-making powers of the vice chiefs of the three forces was also enhanced by five times to around US$72 million in order to expedite critical defence procurements for the armed forces.

The year also saw Governments of India and US partners organise the inaugural bilateral Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue in New Delhi in September. The summit was led by India’s Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, and Minister of Defence, Nirmala Sitharaman, along with US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, and Secretary of Defense, James Mattis. India, the 2nd biggest country in terms of population, is home to the 3rd largest military force in the world. Responsibilities of securing the world’s fastest-growing major economy has pushed for new innovations and global partnerships that have opened up opportunities in indigenous design, development and manufacturing of defence equipment and systems.

India aims to achieve technical capabilities and economies of scale for its defence industry to reach a turnover of over US$25 billion in military goods and services by 2025. To achieve this, apart from driving foreign investment, the Government has launched the Defence India Startup Challenge that has already received applications from over 500 competitors, thus involving Indian entrepreneurs.

Drawn by the promises, foreign defence and aerospace firms such as Sweden’s Saab, US-based Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Lockheed Martin, UK’s Rolls-Royce, Russia’s JSC Sukhoi and Japan’s ShinMaywa Industries, among others, have set up R&D and manufacturing bases across India. With their help, the nation aims to achieve technical capabilities and economies of scale for its defence industry to reach a turnover of over US$25 billion in military goods and services by 2025. To achieve this, apart from driving foreign investment, the Government has launched the Defence India Startup Challenge that has already received applications from over 500 competitors, thus involving Indian entrepreneurs.

Leading developments in Indian defence during 2018 included:

The defence corridor scheme for Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu envisages six to eight Defence Testing Infrastructure, depending upon requirement of the lab, with grant of over US$57 million.
The 10th edition of DefExpo’ for the first time projected India’s growing defence manufacturing capabilities to the world, spanning across shipbuilding, missiles, aircrafts, tanks, among others.
Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) a scheme of Department of Defence Production (DDP), set up to bring startups to solve challenges of defence production, innovate new technologies.
A Defence Investor Cell has been made functional in the DDP to assist with setting up of foreign joint ventures as well as financing of indigenous defence R&D and production related activities.
Make-II procedure launched in January 2018 for simplification of collaboration amid Government and private Indian industry for indigenous defence design, development and manufacturing.
Tata Boeing Aerospace facility, a JV of Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems, for production of fuselage for AH-64 Apache combat helicopters for global supply at Hyderabad opened in March.
An Intellectual Property Rights Facilitation Cell created within Directorate General Quality Assurance with members from OFB and DPSUs to facilitate defence product innovations.
As per provisional figures, value of production in respect of OFB and DPSUs has been increased by 8.2 per cent CAGR during 2017-18 to US$8.4 billion against US$8 billion a year earlier.
‘Defence India Startup Challenge’ launched in August 2018 with the objective of making India self-reliant for meeting the requirements of national defence though local R&D and production.
To boost to defence export, Scheme for Promotion of Defence Exports introduced in October that will certify defence products manufactured in India against set specifications for exporters.
DDP has further amended the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in November, backed by a new software platform, that has greatly enhanced ease-of-doing business in defence exports.
‘Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti’ launched in November to boost Intellectual Property rights in Indian defence sector. This will help move from seeking foreign technology to creating Indian IP.
Ministry of Defence has enhanced financial decision-making powers of vice chiefs of Tri-Services by five times to expedite the decision making in the revenue procurements of the Armed Forces.

Joint Military exercises

lndo-French joint military exercise was conducted at Mailly Le Camp, France over Jan to Feb to acquaint the forces with procedures for counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations.
The first ever joint exercise between Indian and Malaysian armies ‘HARIMAU SHAKTI – 2018’ was held over April to May aimed training in counter insurgency operations in jungle terrain.
lndo-Nepal joint military exercise ‘SURYA KIRAN – XIII’ was conducted in Uttarakhand over May to June. The battalion level exercise focused on counter terrorism operations in mountain terrain.
lndo-Thai joint military exercise ‘MAITREE’ held in Thailand in August. The exercise was aimed at training troops in counter insurgency & counter terrorism operations under the UN mandate.
India participated for the first time in the joint multinational military exercise SCO Peace Mission in August 2018. It focussed on combat against extremist groups in simulated realistic situation.
The 14th edition of lndo-US Joint military Exercise ‘YUDHABHYAS 2018’ in September that saw the armies hone their skills in countering insurgency and terrorism as part of UN peacekeeping.
The third joint military training exercise between Indian Army and Kazakhstan Army was held in Kazakhstan. Ex KAZIND 2018 focussed on tackling of threats in urban warfare scenario.
Military training exercise for BIMSTEC nations, MILEX-2018, was conducted in September to train BIMSTEC nations in planning counter terrorist operations in urban and semi-urban terrain.
The first of its own kind, an lndo-Japan joint military exercise DHARMA GUARDIAN 2018 was conducted at Mizoram in November to equip forces in counter insurgency, terrorist operations.
The 10th edition of lndo-Russian joint military Exercise INDRA was conducted at Sabina Military station in November to enhance activity of the two armies in peacekeeping under the UN.
The 9th edition of lndo-Maldives joint military exercise, EKUVERIN 2018, was conducted at Maldives in December to equip forces in counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations.
As part of a continued effort to train women officers from abroad, the women officers of the Afghan Army and Air Force were trained on basic military aspects at Chennai Over Nov to Dec
The 7th Sino -India joint exercise Hand-in-Hand 2018 was held in December to boost relations and train in tactical level operations in an international counter insurgency/counter terrorism.

Foreign Cooperation

Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a bloc of 24 countries, has become a critical Maritime construct to promote maritime cooperation amongst member countries. During the Conclave of Chiefs held in Tehran in April, it was decided to conduct the IONS anti-piracy exercise by Iran in 2019 and India assumed Chairmanship of IWG Information Sharing and Interoperability (IS&I). Indian Navy also conducted activities for IONS 10th anniversary in November at Kochi.
MILAN-18 was conducted at Port Blair in March. Over 30 delegates from 16 nations and 11 ships from eight countries participated in the exercise. An xercise focussing on ‘Enhancing Regional Cooperation for Combating Unlawful Activities at Sea’ was held during the ‘Harbour Phase’. In the ‘Sea Phase’ participating ships held exercises aimed at harnessing cooperation in a variety of maritime scenarios including ‘Search and Rescue’ and ‘Maritime Interdiction Operations’.

Growing foreign interactions have opened up new opportunities in defence and security space. Between 2015-16 and 2017-18, out of the 99 contracts signed with Indian vendors worth US$9.3 billion, 49 were signed with Indian private firms for procurement of defence equipment, opening up future possibilities. Meanwhile, indigenous manufacturing of foreign defence equipment have seen steady growth. These include aircrafts, helicopters, naval vessels, radars, ballistic helmets, guns, simulators, missiles, bullet proof jackets, electronic fuzes and ammunition. Government of India is taking additional measures to set up a conducive environment for foreign and private investment in defence manufacturing.

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