Record defence production

India’s defence sector has reached a historic milestone, with annual defence production touching a record high of approximately Rs 1.27 lakh crore in the fiscal year 2023-24. This achievement signifies not just a quantitative leap but also a qualitative shift in India’s strategic autonomy and economic resilience. Spearheaded by the ‘Make in India’ initiative, this growth trajectory underscores the nation’s commitment to becoming a global defence manufacturing hub. The Defence Minister’s announcement is a testament to the diligent efforts and strategic policies implemented by the Government. A robust growth of 16.7 percent as compared to last year is a big achievement. This is not merely a numerical achievement but a reflection of the strategic and sustained efforts towards indigenization and self-reliance in defence manufacturing. This great achievement has been possible due to the collaborative spirit of the Indian industry, including Defence Public Sector Undertakings, other PSUs, and private players.
The surge in defence production can be attributed to a series of policy reforms and initiatives aimed at fostering a conducive environment for defence manufacturing. Over the past decade, the Government has introduced measures to ease doing business, encourage FDI, and streamline procurement processes. These efforts have collectively contributed to the creation of a robust defence industrial base. A key pillar of this growth is the aggressive pursuit of indigenization. The Government’s focus on developing indigenous capabilities has resulted in a significant increase in the Value of Production. The Defence Ministry’s data reveals that about 79.2 percent of the total VoP in 2023-24 was contributed by DPSUs and other PSUs, while the private sector accounted for 20.8 percent. This balanced growth across the public and private sectors indicates a healthy and competitive defence ecosystem.
Launched in 2014, the ‘Make in India’ initiative aims to transform India into a global manufacturing hub. In the defence sector, this initiative has been pivotal in driving self-reliance and reducing dependency on imports. The record-high defence production figures are a testament to the success of this initiative. The ‘Make in India’ programme is crossing new milestones year after year, underscoring the Government’s unwavering commitment to achieving ‘Aatmanirbharta’ or self-reliance. The phenomenal growth in defence exports has also significantly bolstered indigenous defence production. In FY 2023-24, defence exports reached a record high of Rs 21,083 crore, marking a growth of 32.5 percent over the previous fiscal year. This surge in exports not only enhances India’s stature as a reliable defence supplier but also contributes to overall economic growth. The strategic implications of this growth in defence production are profound. A robust indigenous defence manufacturing base enhances national security by ensuring a steady supply of critical defence equipment. It also reduces vulnerability to external supply chain disruptions and geopolitical pressures. Furthermore, the growth in defence production and exports strengthens India’s position in the global defence market, enhancing its geopolitical influence.
However, the challenge will be to sustain and further accelerate this growth. Continued policy support, investment in research and development, and fostering innovation will be crucial. The Government must also focus on skill development and capacity building to ensure that the workforce is equipped to meet the demands of advanced defence manufacturing. Simultaneously, the private sector’s role will be increasingly important in driving innovation and efficiency. Public-private partnerships, technology transfers, and collaborations with global defence companies will be key to leveraging the full potential of India’s defence manufacturing capabilities.
This record high defence production reflects the successful implementation of strategic policies and the collective efforts of the Government, public sector undertakings, and private industry. The journey ahead will require sustained efforts, strategic investments, and a collaborative approach. With the right policies and a shared vision, India is well poised to achieve greater heights in defence production, contributing to national security, economic growth, and global influence. As India continues on this growth trajectory, it moves closer to realising its vision of self-reliance and becoming a global defence manufacturing hub.