New Delhi: Defence Minister AK Antony on Friday called for reducing India's over-dependence on defence imports and bolstering research and development capabilities. Speaking to officials of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs), Antony asked them to make sincere and sustained efforts to reduce the dependence on imports to the maximum extent possible.
"While in the era of globalisation, it is not possible to completely do away with imports, particularly for a growing nation like ours. Still the extent of our continuous dependence on foreign sources is not desirable and the situation must change," he said.
"It can be achieved only by strengthening our research and development capabilities," he said at a function here where Raksha Mantri's Awards for Excellence for OFB and Defence PSUs were presented. Alluding to the recently notified revised defence offset guidelines, Antony said they recognised transfer of technology and investment in "kind as eligible for discharge of offset obligations."
He stressed that that the technology acquisition by DRDO for specific technologies will be treated as an eligible offset. In the era of changing times and stiff competition from private sector, the time has come for OFB and DPSUs to shed their complacency, as their time of enjoying a monopoly in the market is over, he said.
Antony gave away awards of excellence to ordnance factories and DPSUs. In the institutional awards category, excellence in performance award was jointly shared by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bangalore.
In the division/factory/shipyard awards category, the best performing division of DPSUs, the award went to Military Radars Unit, BEL, Bangalore. While Rifle Factory, Ishapore, bagged the best performing factory award in OFB, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata, won the best performing shipyard award.