Narendra Modi asks weapon suppliers to be ready
With tensions between India and Pakistan+ escalating, the government has asked arms suppliers and the industry to be prepared to scale up production and supply contracts at short notice.
Government officials and top company executives that ET spoke with said that feelers had come from the government over the past few days to assess the capability and capacity to meet immediate requirements of the armed forces.
Weapon suppliers, including some with the biggest businesses in India, have been contacted to convey that, if need be, contracts for additional arms could be placed on an immediate basis.
“The government wants a realistic estimate of the industry’s ability to deliver on a short notice; to upscale current production and to meet urgent orders,” a top defence executive told ET.
Sources said the government had made similar inquires after the Pathankot air base attack+ in January. In particular, the defence ministry is looking at small arms and ammunition and spare parts and weapons for the Sukhoi and Mirage fighter fleets on a priority basis.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley had also indicated a day before the September 29 surgical strikes+ that an increase in the defence budget could be possible to meet security needs.
“In India, in addition to all the global events which leave an impact on us, we also have the security challenge. The security challenge involves an element of uncertainty. It also involves a lot of national resources being diverted in that direction and it will always get top priority,” Jaitley had said at a banking conference.
The armed forces will be keen to meet critical shortages, particularly in ammunition and small arms, that limit its capability to meet a full-scale war challenge beyond a few days.
Successive years of dipping into war reserves to raise new military units on the China border have led to depleted stocks that in some cases may not even last four days in case of a fullblown conflict along the border.