The Indian Defence Minister A.K.Antony has expressed the need to be self-reliant and innovative in the defence industry to reverse the trend of heavy imports for growing military requirements. While many Indian Defence
PSUs and Ordnance factories are lagging behind in terms of innovation, DRDO has made a breakthrough with its ability to develop high-grade titanium for defence applications. Defence Minister added that India must also match the growing infrastructure build-up of neighboring countries like China.
Speaking at a function organized by defence PSUs and Ordnance Factories, Defence Minister Antony said that the Defence PSUs must invest more in research and development to reverse over-dependence on military imports. He added that since the requirement of defence hardware will always increase for the Indian Armed Forces, more investment in terms of time, money and human resources in research and development is the need of the hour. This will apply not just to Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) but to all defence sector organizations. This objective will be realized once the defence PSUs and Ordnance Factories begin to develop and encourage in-house capabilities and professional human resource management.
While Defence Minister emphasized the need for research and development as well as self-reliance to pave the way for modernization and indigenization, India has become one of the few countries which can develop high purity aeronautical grade titanium for defence applications. The technology has been developed by the DRDO laboratory Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL).The technology will be transferred to Kerala Metals and Minerals Ltd (KMML), which is setting up a 500-tonne year capacity plant. The product produced by KMML would be converted into a finished product by state-run Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limiter (Medhani) for use in various defence and space applications. According to DMRL director, G Malkondiah, the titanium technology was developed after a two-decade-long research.
On the other hand, the growing military presence and infrastructure build-up of China has also been cause for concern for India. Defence Minister added that India has improved the infrastructure and military capabilities in the eastern sector to build an effective deterrent. India has been deploying its frontline fighter aircraft Sukhoi-30 MKIs on its airbases along the Chinese border in the North-East and has raised two Mountain Divisions there. Soon, ultra-light howitzers and tanks under new armoured formations will also be deployed. The idea is to provide greater homeland security.
Defence Minister A.K.Antony added that the Defence Secretary-level talks between India and China will be held next year. India and China will hold the Annual Defence Dialogue (ADD) in January next year during which the two sides are expected to discuss resumption of their joint army exercise and the pending border issues between them.