In this State of the Economy podcast hosted by businessline’s Dalip Singh, former Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar, an expert in technology for governance solutions, provides valuable insights into India’s defence industry, reforms, and geopolitical challenges.  

Kumar highlights the significant progress in India’s defence industry, with new private companies and startups entering the sector.  

Read: Defence exports soon to cross ₹20,000 crore, says Rajnath Singh

However, he emphasises that these developments are just the beginning of India’s journey towards becoming a significant player in the global defence ecosystem.  To reach this pinnacle, he identifies several areas requiring fundamental reforms:

1. Defence R&D Ecosystem: Kumar stresses the need for reform in the defence research and development ecosystem to foster innovation and technological advancements.

2. Procurement Reforms: Simplifying the complex defence procurement process, which currently leads to lengthy delays, is identified as a priority. The aim is to reduce procurement time and align it with the functional needs of the armed forces..

3. Public-Private Partnerships: Encouraging private-public partnerships to undertake significant defence projects, fostering innovation on a larger scale.

4. Civil-Military Collaboration: Promoting collaboration between the defence and civilian sectors to adapt defence technologies for broader commercial and civil applications.

5. Technological Advancements: Focusing on developing capabilities in rare earth materials and ensuring the quantum-proofing of cyber-infrastructure to safeguard national security.

 The discussion also touches upon concerns raised by the defence industry regarding taxation, protection periods, and supply chain structures. Kumar emphasises the importance of addressing these issues and ensuring that the defence sector remains vibrant and competitive. 

Read: India third largest military spender after US and China

Regarding the defence budget, Kumar indicates that there has been substantial growth in defence allocations in recent years, and he believes that legitimate defence requirements will continue to be met. 

On the issue of the ongoing border tensions with China, Kumar highlights India’s firm response and readiness to protect its interests. He emphasises the importance of dialogue and adherence to principles of non-aggression. The podcast concludes with a discussion on India’s role in promoting global peace and the need for diplomatic solutions to international conflicts.  

(Host: Dalip Singh, Producer: Nabodita Ganguly)


About the State of the Economy podcast

India’s economy has been hailed as a bright spot amid the general gloom that seems to have enveloped the rest of the world. But several sectors continue to stutter even as others seem set to fire on all cylinders. To help you make sense of the bundle of contradictions that the country is, businessline brings you podcasts with experts ranging from finance and marketing to technology and start-ups.