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PM Narendra Modi has brought a paradigm shift in India's defence sphere, says Sudhir Kumar Mishra , MD & CEO, of BrahMos Aerospace . In a wide-ranging interview with Economictimes.com's Smriti Jain and Ruchi Bambha , Mishra talks about the importance of integrating the BrahMos missile on Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft and the future of India-Russia defence ties. Mishra also emphasizes that any country that can manufacture aircraft, submarines and tanks is a superpower. Edited Excerpts:
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What is your take on the government's 'Make in India' push?
India missed the industrial and automobile revolution. Automobile revolution was very important because it would have given way to engineering know-how. In the 1980s we realised that the way to move to forward is to get into the service sector. The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi knew the power of information technology (IT) and the need to promote it.
IT is less capital intensive and thus pursuing it was a very good move. In the meantime, China was witnessing an industrial manufacturing revolution. Both the countries became successful in their chosen fields. However, after 10-15 years, we realised that we have reached a level of incompetence.
The present government realized that we bypassed something which was important for India to become strong in the field of manufacturing. It is a compulsion for us to go for 'Make in India'. Manufacturing is essential for a nation's build up and sustenance. We cannot become a well-to-do nation without it.
What steps should be taken to aggressively push the 'Make in India' initiative for defence?
Unlike the past, under 'Make in India', we do not pay the transfer-of-technology (TOT) fee or licence fee. Foreign companies are asked to find a strategic partner in India or setup their own subsidiary and carry out the manufacturing activity here. When these companies want to export arms, they should source items from India, and then only the 'Make in India' policy will become successful. The strategic partner (Indian), who has absorbed the technology, would be able to use that technology in some other product and independently sell it all over the world.
For 'Make in India' to be a success, it has to firstly meet the defence requirement of our country. In the second phase, the government will have to come out with an exports policy, so that the strategic partner (Indian), which has absorbed the technology, will start designing a product from day one, with exports in mind.
My suggestion is that under 'Make in India' policy, we should also have 'Make by India', as it would be economically sustainable and will be a financially viable proposition.
PM Modi has brought a paradigm shift in India's defence sphere. India will now extensively manufacture ships and helicopters. It is said that any country which can manufacture aircraft, submarines and tanks is a superpower.
Also read: BrahMos to be test-fired from Su-30MKI in 2016; heaviest-ever missile flown on that jet: Sudhir Mishra
PM Narendra Modi recently concluded his visit to Russia. Where do you see India-Russia defence ties headed?
Russia is our first strategic partner. Historically, Russia has proved that it is India's friend. India has received Russia's help in setting up a wide range of infrastructural projects. Based on this historical perspective, I feel that the future is going to be as eventful as the past.
There are talks that India will buy the S-400 missile system, which is one of the best systems in the world. Russians have always given us their best product. S-400 will be able to serve India for at least 30 years.
Also, Russia will set up their Kamov manufacturing plant in India. That would be a complete game changer, because Russians do not believe in such ventures where they source defence equipment from abroad.
BrahMos missile will be test-fired from Sukhoi 30MKI fight