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

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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.

 

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Samsung Galaxy Fold Launch Postponed in China: Report

The Galaxy Fold is expected to be priced around Rs 1,40,790 in India

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samsung foldable phone
FILE - The Samsung Galaxy Fold phone is shown on a screen at Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.’s Unpacked event in San Francisco, Feb. 20, 2019. Samsung says it will look into some reports of flickering or cracking screens. VOA

Samsung has postponed the Galaxy Fold’s launch events in Hong Kong and Shanghai, which were originally scheduled for April 23 and 24, days after some units of the $2,000 foldable phone encountered major display issues.

“The firm is blaming the decision on a last minute issue with the venue, according to someone claiming to be familiar with the matter.

“But that seems a little too convenient seeing as the handset has been under heavy fire all week, after a number of units broke after being in the hands of reviewers for less than a day,” the SamMobile reported late on Sunday.

Tech reviewers from renowned media brands like The Verge and the CNBC noted issues like screen flickering, display distortion and unexplainable bulges bugging the industry-first device, reports said last week.

The handset maker obviously doesn’t want to associate these delays with the broken review units, but given the timing, chances are Samsung wants to buy more time to address these issues before the next wave of shipments, according to the Engadget.

Sub-titling the review “Yikes”, The Verge said that the flaws were “distressing to be discovered just two days after receiving the review unit”.

Smartphone, tablet folded phone
DJ Koh, president and CEO of IT and Mobile Communications, holds up the new Samsung Galaxy Fold smartphone during an event, Feb. 20, 2019, in San Francisco. VOA

Defending its devices just days before its roll-out, a Samsung spokesperson assured that the firm would “thoroughly inspect” the units.

The super-expensive foldable smartphone was launched during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February followed by Huawei launching its own foldable phone, the Mate X.

According to market research firm Gartner, foldable phones would make up 5 per cent of high-end phones sales by 2023 with around 30 million units.

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The phone comes with the world’s first 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display, which folds into a compact device with a cover display that is capable of opening up to three active apps simultaneously on the main display.

The Galaxy Fold is expected to be priced around Rs 1,40,790 in India. (IANS)