Today self-reliance in defence has become a strategic necessity: Army chief Naravane

NEW DELHI: Army chief General MM Naravane on Thursday emphasized the need for India to become self-reliant in the field of defence underlining that India is lagging behind in terms of defence mordernization compared to its adversaries.
“Today self-reliance in defence has become a strategic necessity. It is imperative for us to invest in building long term indigenous capabilities for application across the entire spectrum of conflict”, said the Army chief.
Considering the quick pace of defence modernisation being undertaken by India’s adversaries, Naravane said, “We are lagging behind slightly.”
The Army chief said that indigenous equipment needs to replace India’s dependence on foreign arms.
“Continuous and heavy dependence of Indian armed forces on equipment of foreign origin needs to be addressed through indigenous capability development,” he said.
Reviewing the year gone by, Naravane said that 2020 was unique in terms of twin challenges of Covid-19 pandemic and the belligerence on the northern borders.
“The events of the past year have brought to the fore the vulnerability of global supply chains, underscoring the need for self-reliance,” he said.
Naravane further pitched for the armed forces to equip themselves with niche technologies such as artificial intelligence, autonomous unmanned systems, log range precision technology, quantum computing and swarm drones
“All these will certainly need to be acquired and absorbed as part of our deliberate and a continuous process,” said the Army chief.
India third-largest military spender but high on imports
In 2018, India spent $71.1 billion on its armed forces becoming the third-largest military spender in the world.
According to a report from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, with $732 billion, the US came out to be the largest spender followed by China.
In 2019, China, a hostile neighbor for India, increased its military expenditure to $261 billion by 5.1 per cent. On the other hand, India’s expenditure grew by 6.8 per cent to $71.1 billion.
Though India has the third-largest military in the world, it is also one of the largest importers of conventional defence equipment. India spends around 30 per cent of its total defense budget on capital acquisitions. Around 60 per cent of India’s defence equipment requirement is met through imports.
(With inputs from agencies)

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