Seminar on UK – India Defence Partnership
Coinciding with the visit of the British Defence Secretary to India, the seminar “UK-India Defence Partnership” was organized jointly by the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) and the British High Commission on 26 February 2018 in New Delhi.
Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG, British High Commissioner, speaking at the inaugural session of the Seminar mentioned that the UK defense industry was one of the best in terms of technology and building partnerships with India could not only add to additional cutting-edge technology but also to skill development. India and UK both need to highlight the problems of short-term to identify concrete actions for the future.
Welcoming the participants, Lt Gen Subrata Saha PVSM, UYSM, YSM, VSM** (Retd), Director General, SIDM highlighted the history of the Indo-British defence industry and brought out that the defence expenditure based on the threats not only needs to cater for external threats but in the process add to the economy. He added that rather than seeing India as a market for Defence equipment and engaging in buyer-seller relationship, it would be of much higher value if UK & India engaged upstream for collaborative ventures in innovation & technology development and touched upon the potential of MSME to MSME engagement.
In the first session chaired by Mr. Shambhu Kumaran, Joint Secretary (Planning & International Cooperation), Ministry of Defence, it was brought out that the technology is the crux for future capability. The issue of life cycle expenses and modernization and upgrade of existing equipment was also highlighted. A suggestion to the British industry was to engage with Indian industry into their supply chain for future orders.
The second session chaired by Mr. Stephen Lovergrove CB, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, UK brought out the engagement of UK with their industry with key reforms and new structures.
The Secretary Defence Production, Dr. Ajay Kumar gave out details of how Indian Government is moving on to greater transparency, making in India, easing procedures and opening up exports and defence corridors. Indian Government is fostering MSMEs collaborations in the defence sector. He also mentioned DPSUs should improve productivity per person and delivery timelines. Overall market dynamism can come in through the IPO” while talking of partial disinvestment of DPSUs. He also said that the proposals were taken up under ‘Make II”, the progress at the various steps will be published for vendors to know the status of their projects.
Mr. Jayant Patil, Vice President, SIDM spoke about opportunities offered through a Strategic Partnership model which is centered about private industry partner. For future advanced platforms, the Government is already considering DPSUs for future strategic partnerships. Mr. Patil also brought out how the Government of India is bringing in greater policy changes.
The seminar was attended by high-level officials from the UK and India from Ministry of Defence in addition to senior military and industry representatives from both countries to an open and dynamic discussion on a range of equipment and production issues.