SIDM, June 29
The Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) of the Indian Army in partnership with the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) today inaugurated a three-day Digital Seminar-cum-Exhibition on ‘Opportunities for Indigenisation in Army Base Workshops’ to take forward the `Make in India’ and `Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative of the Government of India, a notch higher.
The initiative will help the Army Base Workshops, charged with the fourth line of repair in the army, to reduce dependency on imports and cut cost on repairs. But more importantly, the initiative will help reduce the time for which critical equipment of the Field army remains off duty awaiting some critical spares/components to arrive from abroad (new or repaired).
In the four sessions spanning the next two days, the seminar will deliberate upon Indigenisation requirements across the entire spectrum of equipment of the land forces, be it, Armoured Vehicles, Communication Equipment, Radars, Optoelectronics, Rubber Items, Armament Spares, Special Vehicles Engineering Equipment and Army Air Defence Weapon Systems. which will be followed by B2G interactions.
In the inaugural session, Mr Jayant D Patil, President, SIDM conveyed that such digital interactions have become the new normal to do business. Referring to the recent Defence reforms announced in May, Mr Patil highlighted that this event with the Corps of EME is a step towards advancing indigenisation requirements of the Army Base Workshops and further stated that the Industry will be ready to meet these requirements in a timely and qualitative manner. Lastly, he assured the dignitaries that SIDM, with the support of the Indian Army, can synergize Industry capability for making India resilient against any adversary from Eastern, Western and Northern Sectors.
Lt Gen Anil Kapoor, AVSM, VSM, DG EME and Senior Colonel Commandant, in his theme address, shared that “India and Indians are synonymous with innovation and challenges to address any obstacle; Indigenisation can be achieved with a similar spirit and fervour”. He elucidated upon the initiative of the ‘Industrial Outreach Drive’ where the Army Base Workshops have connected with MSMEs, Entrepreneurs, Public & Private Institutions and Startups to find Indigenisation solutions for self-reliance. “This webinar is a formal step towards continuing this initiative” he added.
In his final comments, he presented 5 propositions vis-à-vis the Army’s engagement with the Industry for furthering Indigenisation: a) Collaboration and closer synergies with the Industry b) Bridging gaps between all stakeholders (for example, through an MoU with a private institution); c) ‘Vectorizing’ energies through regular dialogue; d) Introduction of a Corporate Professional Responsibility where a small percentage of the profits/turnover could beused to resolve the high cost of Indigenisation; e) Indigenisation to become a compulsion and not a choice.
In his Keynote Address, Lt Gen SK Upadhaya, PVSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, Master General of Ordnance, Indian Army stressed that the Army’s strategic autonomy heavily rests on Indigenisation. He stated that today, the Industry has shown its worth in meeting the requirements of the defence sector which allows India to increasingly become ‘Self-reliant’. He said that the Army has graduated towards larger Indigenisation projects which when coupled with the requirement of the Base Workshops can make India ‘100% self-reliant in the future.
Lastly, he mentioned that COVID-19 has increased interactions between the Army and Industry through the digital medium. He urged SIDM and the Director-General EME to quickly take these discussions on Indigenisation to its logical conclusion.
The Session was attended by 140 Industry delegates.