The inordinate delay in firming up the much-awaited strategic partnership model by the government for roping in select private industry for defence production may adversely impact procurement of strategic assets for Indian Navy, a top Navy official said today.
Controller of Navy's Warship Production and Acquisition Vice Admiral D M Deshpande said the Navy has been waiting for the strategic partnership model (SPM) to procure various key platforms like submarines and aircraft but if the policy does not come anytime soon, then a "plan B" will have to be readied which may delay the acquisitions.
During an interactive session at the FICCI, he said more time and energy will be required to put in place an alternative for procurement of submarines, aircraft and other systems.
Under the strategic partnership model, select private Indian defence firms will be allowed to exclusively make various military platforms for a specified period of time.
"We are looking at strategic partnership model...If it does not come through, then time and energy will be required to ensure that a plan B gets into place," said Deshpande.
He suggested that the procurement of strategic assets may get delayed due to the delay in announcement of the SPM.
He also favoured better taxation structure for the growth of the private defence industry.
The SPM was proposed by the Dhirendra Singh Committee in July, 2015. It had said that for 'Make in India' initiative to become wider in the defence sector, the government should adopt a strategic partnership model, whereby a private firm is chosen for the development of a specific identified platform.
Last year, then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had made announcements that the policy on SPM will be unveiled soon.
Highlighting the importance of defence indigenisation, Deshpande said all stakeholders including the government, private industry and premier defence research organisation DRDO will have to join hands to make India a leading defence manufacturer.
"When these handshakes take place with all these stakeholders, I am sure the handshake will also come from the government in terms of very very proactive policies which will help ease business rules," the senior Navy official said.
Indian Navy is short of submarines and Deshpande said it has plans for building more conventional submarines.
"We have a very very ambitious plan for our strategic submarines," he said.
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