NEW DELHI, April 18 (IANS): Indian Navy chief, Admiral R.K. Dhawan, on Monday called for increased private investment in defence manufacturing which, he said, is capable of producing the world's best warships and submarines.
"The navy has outlined its science and technology roadmap for next 15 years and has shared it with the industry, underlining nearly 100 sets of technologies which are to be absorbed in our warships and submarines," he said at an interaction between private investors and naval officers here.
Dhowan said the navy would provide all the support to MSMEs (micro, small, medium enterprises) in research, design and development of weaponry.
"The blueprint of the future of Indian Navy is firmly anchored in self reliance and indigenisation and I think this partnership with the Indian industry, both public and private, will ensure that our future warships, submarines and the aviation sector will be 100 percent made in India," he said.
NITI Ayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant said defence manufacturing had to be the centre point of India's growth story.
"If manufacturing has to grow, defence manufacturing has to be the driver. Without defence manufacturing, India can never grow in double digit and sustain growth trajectory for long," Kant said in his brief address at the event.
"In the last 15 months we have cleared licences for 125 defence manufacturers. The key principle was that the private manufacturers would be treated at par with the public sector units," Kant said.
He said the Narendra Modi government has adopted a balanced approach so that "private manufacturers get a level playing field to compete and win contracts in India".
The navy chief highlighted the opportunities where the private sector can collaborate with the public sector in warship building.
"In the float components of a warship which comprises the structures of it, India has achieved nearly 90 percent indigenisation. That's because warship seals are being designed and developed by the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and is being manufactured in the country," Dhowan said.
He added that the aircraft carrier Vikrant, which was being built in Kochi, has an Indian seal.
Dhowan said India had achieved 60 percent indigenisation in the move components, where it was building the propulsion and auxiliary machinery.
"But there is huge opportunity of indigenisation and partnering with the public and private sector in making main gas banks, which are the primary requirement for the main propulsion and auxiliary propulsion," he said.
The navy was expecting foreign assistance in manufacturing pipe components of the warships which comprises weaponry and sensors, said Dhowan.
"While we have made the medium range guns, the explosives, anti-aircraft guns, rocket launchers, communication systems, electronic warfare systems, combat management systems... there is still huge opportunity for developing technology. So we would like the best in world to partner with India so that the best sensors and sea warfare weapons are available within the country," he said.
Dhowan said warship building in India can be traced back to 5,000 years ago to the Indus Valley civilisation.
"Even today we have a dry dock at Lothal in Gujarat which traces back to 2,200 BC. From these small ports the sailors sailed out to distant lands in Mesopotamia and Africa. On eastern coast of India, the Kalingas, the Cholas, the Cheras, the Pandyas also sailed out to distant lands in South East Asia.
"Even today we can see India's maritime heritage in these countries," he added.