New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said that before the current government came to power in 2014, the defence sector lagged behind in India and it led to a dependency on imports for military equipment, affecting strategic autonomy.
Singh said the present government understood the importance of self-reliance in the defence sector and has been making constant efforts to achieve it.
“The defence sector has entered into a new era due to the policies, vision and mindset of this government,” he said after inaugurating several events of the Department of Defence Production (DDP) to celebrate ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ commemorating 75 years of India’s Independence.
Singh was of the view that while India attained “freedom” in fields like agriculture, education and health after Independence, not much attention was paid towards the defence sector.
He said that before the present government came to power in 2014, the defence sector lagged behind due to a lack of investment, innovation and research and development.
“This led to a dependency on imports to meet the defence requirements of the country and affected the strategic autonomy,” he added, according to the Defence Ministry.
The defence minister said the present government does not shy away from taking bold decisions in the interest of the nation as he listed out a number of policy reforms aimed at promoting self-reliance in defence manufacturing.
In his address, Singh also paid rich tributes to India’s first Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 armed forces personnel killed in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu on December 8.
“Gen Rawat still had a lot to do. Modernisation of our armed forces and complete self-reliance in the defence sector were subjects close to his heart. Now, it is our responsibility to work tirelessly to achieve the objective even sooner,” he added.
Sharing his insights on what freedom means to a nation, Singh said freedom is not just a thing to be attained or earned, it is also about the ability and capacity to take decisions.
“Freedom is not a goal, but a path. To a sovereign nation, freedom means the ability and capacity to take any decision related to defence and socio-economic development. In any situation, we can take a decision only when we are completely self-reliant,” he stressed.