TMC questions defence sector reforms, says ordnance factories undermined in past 5 yrs

KOLKATA : A day after the Centre imposed Restrictions on import of 101 weapons and military platforms, the Trinamool Congress on Monday sought to know if the country’s defence industry has the ability to produce these items.
Senior TMC leader and the party’s national spokesperson Saugata Roy said the central government should create a “proper roadmap” to make India’s indigenous defence sector self-reliant.
In a major reform initiative to boost the domestic defence industry, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday announced restrictions on import of 101 weapons and military platforms including artillery guns, assault rifles, transport aircraft and sonar systems.
“The announcement might sound good, but there are a few things that have to be looked into. The Centre has put an embargo on 101 items, but the question remains whether our indigenous defence sector has the ability to produce those items. If not, what is the Union government doing to enhance its capabilities,” the senior TMC leader told PTI.
Roy, a veteran parliamentarian and former union minister, claimed that attempts have been made to undermine the countrys ordnance factories over the last five years.
“On one hand, you talk of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self- reliant India) and on the other, you weaken our ordnance factories instead of strengthening them. This is unacceptable,” he said.
Efforts should be made to build fighter jets, submarines and other high-end defence products in India, the Lok Sabha MP from Dum Dum insisted.
“If the country lacks capability, foreign companies will set up units in India and sell their products to us. That won’t serve the purpose. The government must come up with a proper roadmap to make the defence sector self-reliant,” he added.
The defence minister had on Sunday said that the domestic defence industry would receive contracts worth almost Rs four lakh crore within the next five to seven years as a result of the decision to prune the import list of military platforms and equipment.
He also said that all necessary steps will be taken to ensure that timelines for domestic production of equipment identified under the negative list for import are met, adding the measures will include a co-ordinated mechanism for hand- holding of the industry by the defence services. (AGENCIES)