General Studies Paper 3 (Internal Security) (Science & Technology)
Question:- 49.“Self-reliance in defence manufacturing is a crucial component for improving defence capability and to maintain national sovereignty.” Analyze the statement with respect to defence manufacturing in India. Answer in 150 words.
Aug 26, 2022



Indigenisation is the capability of developing and producing any defence equipment within the country to achieve self-reliance. It involves creating an ecosystem to design, develop and manufacture different types of equipment indigenously. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported that  India was the world’s second-largest importer of major arms in 2014-18,  third largest military spender in 2021 and accounted for 9.5% of the global total and India’s military expenditure rose by 3.1% (write any data that you remember- all 4 figures are not needed).


LINKAGE POINT: The data and the current scenario establish the need for indigenization of defence equipment mainly because of the following reasons:



  1. 1.The superpower ambition, growing complexity of security challenges in India’s neighbourhood and economic power (India poised to become a $5 trillion-dollar economy by 2025), to safeguard these interests, India requires strong defence capabilities.
  2. 2. The presence of hostile neighbours like China and Pakistan makes it obligatory for India to boost its self-defence and preparedness. Import in defence sector has security implications as as critical technology is sold to many countries by companies, thus diluting strategic advantage.
  3. 3.There’s a long gestation period in fully transferring defence weapons, fighter places etc. Self-reliance will make India’s geopolitical stance strategically stronger as a net security provider.
  4. 4. Advancement in the defence technology sector will automatically boost other industries hence catapulting the economy further ahead. Defence manufacturing will need the support of numerous other industries which generate employment opportunities.
  5. 5.It will also result in autonomy and independence in defence sector from USA and Russia.
  6. 6.The economic drain can be prevented with indigenization. India spends around 3% of GDP on defence and 60% of that is spent on imports.



India has come a long way since 1971, when the war with Pakistan saw the Indian Navy use its aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, and its Seahawk aircraft to blockade Bangladesh. Recently, India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, also christened Vikrant, was handed over to the Navy. The country has been making strides towards self-reliance. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is aiming to secure a deal for its Tejas Light Combat Aircraft in Malaysia. In January, India had signed a 375-million-dollar contract for the supply of BrahMos cruise missiles to the Philippines. This constituted India’s largest-ever weapons sale abroad.

Hints: Srijan portal, Idex, Make in India, Defence Corridoors – UP, Tamil Nadu,  impetus to private production, overhaul of ordinance factories, encouraging DRDO for design development etc.



Becoming self-sufficient in core technologies remains the real challenge. At present, the Tejas is powered by an American engine. Although India is exploring collaboration with foreign defence majors for co-producing engines for the latter. Meanwhile, the Navy’s ships rely on power plants designed by foreign firms. And, India is again hunting for a foreign conventional submarine design, despite the Make in India Scorpène initiative. Make in India for defence products is handicapped by the absence of large orders. In the past, there have also been cases where products designed, developed and manufactured in India failed to qualify for indigenous status because of the government’s tendency to place such small orders that it was uneconomical to carry out import-substitution for many components.



The government needs to formalise and declare a formal national security strategy. Such a strategy would form the basis of all defence planning, capability development, and fund allocation. The country’s interests are best served by being self-reliant especially in defence productions. As the Army Chief recently highlighted, “the future wars cannot be fought on borrowed technology.”