Thursday October 19, 2017
Home Opinion Make-in-India...

Make-in-India: How private sector investment can bolster defense

0
300

defence

By Ishan Kukreti

Given India’s geopolitical situation in the subcontinent, building a strong defense force is imperative for the country. The country is surrounded by neighbors who say things like ‘their nuclear warheads are not for the occasion of Shab-e-barat’ or those who are vocal supporters of military expansion and strategies like ‘String of Pearls.’ It’s time the country realized that we are not in a very peace loving company.

India’s defense budget  

In this regard, the recent defense budget of Rs 250 billion under Make-in-India (defense manufacturing) is an impressive amount. It is also impressive as it aims to make India self-reliant in terms of defense manufacturing.

This has been achieved with the investments of private players. Under Make-in-India, 46 licenses have been issued by the government for private players to undertake manufacturing of light armored vehicles, UAVs, artillery weapon systems, and underwater systems. Gautam Adani’s Adani Defense Systems and Technologies has applied for the license to manufacture helicopters while Anil Ambani has pledged an investment of Rs. 5,000 Crore into the defense sector.

The importance of Public-Private-Partnership in Defense

Importing technology and equipment from outside is not the best approach a nation can adopt to create a robust defense system.

India has been investing heavily in the defense sector for a long time but with little result. The red tape, the sluggish pace of R&D under government bodies, and structural contradictions in the defense manufacturing setup have all contributed to this. Moreover, the overstaffed bureaucratic bodies have more file pushers than innovators who can create a technically advanced defense system.

The presence of a substantial private stake in defense will bring much-needed vigor and accountability that the Indian defense sector needs today. The sloth of the bureaucracy in terms of efficient work and the ability to conceive out of the box ideas and solutions can only find an answer in a private investment which has a stake in the process.

The power relations in the sub continent

The power relations in the South Asian region have always been volatile. Disputes over the artificial border between Indian and Pakistan created by the British and instability in countries like Afghanistan and Bangladesh, when combined with the aggressive military ambitions of China, make the region very hostile.

Moreover, the increasing bonhomie between China and Pakistan, with the former making inroads into the disputed Gilgit-Baltistan region north of J&K, is reason enough for the country to be prepared for any future conflicts.

Given these circumstances, Modi government’s focus on defense is critical. From Babur to Luo Ruiqing, India has paid a heavy price for not taking technological advancements in defense seriously.

Postscript

Wars and conflicts are realities not to be shied away from. The long maintained rhetoric of peace and non-violence, although morally noble, has rendered India a gullible republic. With all due respect to Gandhian principles, the aversion to act aggressively when the situation demands and flexing muscles afterwards is no way to be a relevant player in international relations.

 

Next Story

Pakistan Elected to UN Human Rights Council along with 14 other countries

The new members will serve a three-year term from January 1, 2018

0
0
un human rights council
UN General Assembly elect 15 new members of Human Rights Council. Wikimedia

United Nations, October 17, 2017 : Fifteen countries, including Pakistan, have been elected to the UN Human Rights Council by the UN General Assembly.

In a vote on Monday, Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, Chile, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain and Ukraine were elected, a Foreign Office statement said.

They will serve a three-year term from January 1, 2018. (IANS)

 

Next Story

Pakistan Electoral Body Bars Political Party Due to Terror Ties

0
8
Sheikh Yaqub
Sheikh Yaqub (C) candidate of the newly-formed Milli Muslim League party, waves to his supporters at an election rally in Lahore, Pakistan. voa

Pakistan’s Election Commission (ECP) on Wednesday rejected the registration application of a newly established political party with alleged ties to a banned militant group in the country.

Milli Muslim League (MML) has been disqualified to participate in the country’s state and general elections.

The electoral commission’s decision is said to be based on a request made earlier by the country’s Ministry of Interior Affairs, stating that Milli Muslim League is a front organization for Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a U.S.-designated terror sponsoring organization in Pakistan.

“The government is vigilant and under no circumstances will allow any political party with a proven record of promoting violence and terrorism to spread their extremist ideology through democracy and political means,” Tallal Chaudhry, Pakistan’s minister of state for Interior Affairs, told VOA.

Saif Ullah Khalid, president of Milli Muslim League, dismissed the election commission’s decision and said the party will take the matter to the country’s judiciary.

Political wing

Milli Muslim League was established in August 2017 as a political wing for the controversial Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which is believed to be a front organization for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror group led by Hafiz Saeed.

Saeed was accused of masterminding Mumbai’s 2008 terror attacks that killed 166 people, including six Americans.

The U.S. government has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his arrest. Saeed has been reportedly under house arrest in the eastern city of Lahore for the past eight months.

In September, during an important by-election in Lahore, when the National Assembly’s seat fell vacant following the disqualification of then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the newly launched MML backed an independent candidate who finished fourth in the race for Sharif’s seat.

At the time, Pakistan’s upper house of parliament strongly criticized the country’s election commission for allowing JuD’s political wing, MML, to participate in the Lahore by-election.

Some experts were concerned about the emergence of militant groups joining mainstream politics in Pakistan. They maintain that the political trend seen in Lahore’s by-election, where parties linked to militant groups are able to mobilize and generate sufficient numbers of votes within a very short period of time, as alarming.

“There should be a debate on this sensitive issue through social, political and media channels. By allowing militant-based political parties to integrate into mainstream politics, it will only escalate radicalization in the society,” Khadim Hussain, a Peshawar based political analyst, told VOA.

“There are people who believe with the merger of such militant groups into politics, we’ll provide them an avenue to maintain a political presence without leaving their extreme ideologies,” Hussain added.

Army’s support

Earlier last week, Pakistan’s army acknowledged they are mulling over plans to blend the militant-linked political groups into the mainstream political arena.

Some analysts side with MML, arguing the party should be allowed to participate in elections.

“I do not understand in what capacity the election commission has rejected MML’s application to register as a party,” said Ahmad Bilal Mehboob, the head of Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT).

“Did they (MML) break any law? If not, how can you bar MML from entering the mainstream politics when they’re doing it through legitimate ways,” Mehboob emphasized.

Zubair Iqbal, a Washington-based South Asia expert, also raised concerns over the validity of the decision.

“This is how democracy works. … There are some extreme groups, some moderate groups and no one should be stopped because of their extreme ideologies,” Iqbal told VOA. “The extremist groups can be barred from entering into the politics only through people and democracy.”

“Unless these parties and individuals are allowed to participate in the political system they might never change their extreme ideologies and might continue operating underground which will prove to be more dangerous,” Iqbal added.

International pressure

In the past few years, Pakistan has faced escalating pressure from the international community for not being able to crackdown on militant groups enjoying safe havens in Pakistan and launching attacks in neighboring countries.

In his recent speech on the region, U.S President Trump put Pakistan on notice to take actions against safe havens in Pakistan. Pakistani officials deny the existence of safe havens on its soil.

Pakistan is also accused of being selective in its pursuit of terror groups. It allegedly goes after only those groups that pose a threat to the country’s national security, ignoring others that threat India and Afghanistan.

Pakistan rejects the allegations and reiterates its stance of having no sympathy for any terror group operating in the country.(VOA)

Next Story

Forbes Rich List 2017: Acharya Balkrishna of Patanjali Named as 19th Richest Indian

0
43
Acharya Balkrishna
Acharya Balkrishna. Wikimedia

Oct 05, 2017: Patanjali Ayurveda’s Acharya Balkrishna, the partner of yoga acharya Ramdev, has bagged the nineteenth position this year in the Forbes magazine’s Annual India Rich List 2017 with total assets of $6.55 billion (Rs. 43,000 crores).

Reliance Industries Ltd. foreman Mukesh Ambani managed India’s wealthiest position for the tenth straight year as his total assets swelled to $38 billion (Rs. 2.5 trillion), while Anil Ambani was positioned much lower at the 45th place with $3.15 billion.

Sun Pharma’s Dilip Shanghvi moved down from his previous second place to the ninth.

Also Read: British-Indian Actor Kunal Nayyar Ranks Fourth on Forbes Magazines List of World’s Highest-Paid TV Actors 

Wipro’s Azim Premji held the second position with total assets of $19 billion, climbing two spots from a year ago.

The Hinduja brothers are at the third position with $18.4 billion, while Lakshmi Mittal is presently positioned fourth ($16.5 billion) and Pallonji Mistry fifth ($16 billion).

Forbes said the rundown was arranged utilizing shareholding and budgetary data secured from the families and people, stock trades, investigators and administrative offices.