In a bid to ensure the country's self-reliance in defence, the Indian Army has signed contracts worth Rs 40,000 crore with indigenous defence manufacturers, Vice Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General B S Raju said on Saturday. Lt Gen Raju, in his address to Army commanders, said henceforth, the "Acceptance of Necessity (AoN)" will only be given to indigenous defence manufacturers, adding that the direction "from the top" was very clear that the country had to fight any future war with indigenous equipment.
The Ministry of Defence grants AoN for a particular weapon system or equipment at the beginning of the procurement process. This is part of the government's support to encourage the defence manufacturing industry in the country, which is at a nascent stage.
Inaugurating the North Tech symposium, Lt Gen Raju said, "The Indian Army has entered into contracts worth Rs 40,000 crore with the indigenous defence industry during the last two years."
The Army is working with the defence industry to design and develop over 39 solutions, of which 16 were in the proto-type development stage, he said.
In a word of support for the industry, the vice chief said, "You have some experience. We assure you that we will come more than half a distance to meet your aspirations. We will give you all facilities that are required -- whether it is equipment or testing ranges or our time."
"We will not ask you for the moon. It will be reasonable, so that we are able to produce. If your equipment meets 80 per cent of aspiration, we are going to give you orders. I assure you," he added.
Lt Gen Raju said as part of an outreach initiative towards the industry, the Army has established a regional technology node in Pune in addition to the one already in place in Delhi.
"We are planning to have one in Bengaluru. Our army design bureau is doing a fantastic job. We need to scale up our in-house capabilities," he said.
On the second day of the symposium, an exhibition was organised, wherein 162 companies from the Indian defence industry, including MSMEs, DRDO and DPSU, participated and exhibited their products.
In addition, 42 innovative solutions by Army establishments towards enhancement of their combat potential were also on display, a defence spokesman said.
On the first day of the symposium, participants from the Army and the defence manufacturing industry discussed policies and procedures for expeditious procurement, self-reliance in defence initiatives by the Indian Army, DRDO and Defence Public Sector Undertakings among others, a spokesman said.
The symposium showcased cutting-edge technologies and innovative products providing solutions to some of the complex challenges faced by the security forces in the Northern Command and also acted as an ideal platform for mutual exchange of ideas between the domestic defence industry and the Army, he said.
The technologies and products on display covered a wide canvas, the prominent ones being surveillance and situational awareness, tactical mobility, firepower, force protection, communications, combat medical facility, robotics and simulators.
Representatives from the Indian Defence Industry, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Defence Public Sector Undertakings and academia participated in the symposium and presented their thoughts.
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