Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that India’s defence preparedness had been hampered by policy paralysis of earlier regimes, but his government was moving fast and resolving issues that should have been addressed long ago.
Inaugurating Defexpo 2018 near Mahabalipuram on East Coast Road, Modi said that India had seen how the “laziness, incompetence or perhaps some hidden motives” can cause damage to the nation. There was a time when, like many other aspects of governance, the critical issue of defence preparedness was hampered by policy paralysis. “Not now. Not anymore. Never again,” he said.
“Issues that should have been long addressed by previous governments are being resolved now. You would have seen how the issue of providing bullet-proof jackets to Indian Army soldiers was kept hanging for years. You would have also seen that we have brought the process to a successful conclusion with a contract that will provide a boost to defence manufacturing in India. You would also recall the long-drawn process of procurement of fighter aircraft that never reached any conclusion. We have not only taken bold action to meet our immediate critical requirements, but also initiated a new process to procure 110 fighter aircraft. We do not want to spend 10 years in discussions without any tangible outcome,” he said. “But, we do not want to take short cuts.”
Recalling the legacy of Indian armed forces and their services across the world, he said his government has made significant progress in defence manufacturing as well.
“On defence manufacturing licences, on defence offsets, on defence exports clearances, on FDI in defence manufacturing, and on reforming our defence procurement, we have taken many steps,” he said, describing how regulations and procedures have been made more industry-friendly and transparent.