Self-reliance in Defence Important for Attaining Strategic Autonomy, Says Defence Secretary

December 03, 2020

New Delhi: The Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses organised the 11th Y.B. Chavan Memorial Lecture by Dr. Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary, Ministry of Defence, on ‘India’s Defence Policy: Challenges and Contours, on 03 December 2020.

In his Welcome Address, Amb. Sujan R. Chinoy, Director General MP-IDSA said that India’s primary objectives are to ensure its sovereignty and territorial integrity and to guarantee a peaceful and stable environment in which it can achieve rapid and inclusive economic growth and prosperity for its people.

Highlighting the traditional and non-tradition challenges, Amb. Chinoy noted that the policy makers today have to prepare not only for the conventional and the predictable, but also for the unconventional and the unpredictable.

Dr. Ajay Kumar, while delving into the various contours of India’s Defence Policy in his lecture, said that it should be analysed in the context of the current international security system and the domestic environment. Showcasing its importance, he said the defence requirements of the country have been suitably enhanced by the government, despite the adverse financial impact of the ongoing pandemic.

Highlighting the importance of self-reliance in Defence for attaining strategic autonomy, Dr. Kumar said that India, for long, has been one of the biggest defence importers in the world. The Government is now working towards boosting domestic manufacturing and developing new technologies with the private sector as key players. The objective is to draw attention towards augmenting domestic production, he noted.

Sharing his thoughts on the interplay between the strategic and structural variables in determining the defence strategy of a country, Dr. Kumar said that at the strategic level, India must take into account its available structural resources and constraints to formulate a comprehensive defence policy. Given the current scenario, it was imperative to integrate and enhance the jointness of India’s Defence Forces. The appointment of India’s first Chief of Defence Staff is a step in that direction, he added.

Also present on the occasion was the representative of Yashwantrao Chavan Pratishthan, Mumbai, Shri Ajit Nimbalkar, who spoke of Shri Y.B. Chavan’s contributions not only in Maharashtra, but also on the national front. Hailing Shri Chavan as a distinguished leader with a humble background Shri Nimbalkar spoke of his journey from a small village in Maharashtra to becoming the Indian Minister of Defence during the 1965 War.

The Y.B. Chavan Memorial Lecture is an annual lecture organised by MP-IDSA in collaboration with the Yashwantrao Chavan Pratishthan since 2010.