PM’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ Observations on Defence Sector Far from Truth: CPI
D RAJA, General Secretary of the Communist Party of India issued the following statement today (on June 29, 2020) saying that the Prime Minister’s observations about the defence sector in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on June 28, 2020 are far from truth:
The Prime Minister’s observation in his Mann Ki Baat on June 28, 2020 about the defence sector are far from truth. He said: “Friends, before Independence, in the realm of the defence sector, our country was ahead of many countries in the world. There used to be a multitude of Ordnance Factories. Many countries that lagged behind us then, are ahead of us now. After Independence, we should have made efforts in the defence sector, taking advantage of our prior experience…. We did not. But today, in the field of defence and technology, India is relentlessly endeavouring to advance on those fronts…. India is taking strides towards self-reliance.”
The above words of the Prime Minister are far from truth. When the Britishers left India, there were only 18 Ordnance Factories and the arms, weapons, ammunition, etc, were manufactured based on British technology. After Independence, the elected democratic government led by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had a vision and mission about achieving self-reliance in defence and indigenisation of defence manufacturing. As a result, many defence PSUs like HAL, BEL, BDL, BEML and others were established. Today there are 41 Ordnance Factories, with 23 of them established after Independence and not a single factory was established by the BJP government in the last six years. When many developed countries like the US, France, Italy, Germany and others refused to provide defence technology to our country, it was the erstwhile socialist countries, especially the then Soviet Union that extended a helping hand to India and provided the technology. The battle tank being manufactured in our country is based on Russian technology.
Today our Ordnance Factories are producing indigenously-developed arms, ammunitions, rifles, weapons, protective clothings, battle-field dress, tents, parachutes, etc, for the Indian Armed Forces. India has been equipped with the arms, ammunitions and other equipments produced by the Ordnance Factories and PSUs. How can the Prime Minister belittle the contribution of the Indian Ordnance Factories? Even in the COVID-19 crisis period, the Ordnance Factories have produced different types of PPEs required for the doctors, nurses and other medical staff for fighting the spread of COVID-19.
The government is now planning to privatise the entire defence production and has allowed 100 per cent FDI in defence. The government has decided to convert the 41 Ordnance Factories, which are now directly under the government into public sector undertakings and then to privatise them. Handing over the defence of our country to the private corporates is against our national interest. CPI protests such decision of the present government which goes against our national interest. The Party urges the Prime Minister to strengthen our Ordnance Factories and defence PSUs to achieve self-reliance in the defence sector and not to weaken our indigenous defence industry in public sector.