The Union government’s resolve to develop and produce sophisticated military platforms and weapon systems under the ‘Make In India’ programme is indeed laudable and a step in the right direction. Recently, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, addressing the ‘Technoprom 2017’ wanted Russia, being India’s largest and oldest partner in defence hardware and equipment, to set up joint collaborative projects in this sector in the country.
Jaitley was confident that the Russian companies could be natural partners of Indian companies in this endeavour to create a large industrial base, especially in the defence sector. India, being one of the largest importers of defence equipment, would not only have the advantage of having a manufacturing base in the country but also save much-needed thousands of crores in foreign exchange.
One may mention here that as regards Russia is concerned, military technical cooperation has graduated from a simple-buyer relationship to one involving joint R&D and production of advanced systems. Technology transfer has also taken place in certain cases and India has as a first step started manufacturing small arms. Similar cooperation with Israel is also expected to take shape, following Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit to country, described by many as ‘historical.’