Monday, August 8, 2022

Armed Forces know their responsibility in battle against COVID-19: CDS Gen Bipin Rawat

Despite budgetary challenges in view of coronavirus outbreak, the Indian Armed Forces are capable of undertaking any operational task assigned to them, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat said on Sunday. He added that to ensure that people of the country remain safe it is important for the armed forces to follow all the precautions.

“Whatever budget has been given to us, we must spend it pragmatically avoiding any wasteful expenditure. We don’t see any major drop in our operational preparedness as far as the three services are concerned,” the CDS told ANI in an exclusive interview. General Rawat said COVID-19 has taught us a lesson to be self-reliant. “COVID-19 has taught us a lesson that time has come to be self-reliant. In times of crisis, nations will have to live by themselves. In fact, a country like India, when we are looking at becoming a regional power, we will have to support other nations and not be dependent on others,” the CDS said.

Stressing that it becomes very important for the country to start addressing the issue of in-house manufacturing, the CDS said: “That is why it becomes very important that we start addressing the issue of in-house manufacturing through Make in India and make sure that whatever we are importing, gradually we should start depending on Make in India. If we start depending on Make in India, we will also reduce our ab initio holdings.”

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Pointing out as to how the health industry in the country has come forward during these challenging times, the CDS said: “The scientists and other agencies involved in medical research have come up with innovative ideas to produce medical equipment in the country which we were so far importing to help us tide over COVID-19 has been amazing.”
“There is a very major lesson for us. We have been importing our weapons and ammunition from abroad but I think if we can give this challenge to our industry, academia and research and development organization. I think if we can start manufacturing our own weapon, ammunition in the country, we may not have to be dependent on imports,” he said. The CDS said he was quite sure that the defence manufacturing in the country can also move at the same pace provided “we have faith in our industry and research organisations”. “We are able to do their handholding and are able to move forward.”

General Rawat said gradually we have to start looking that most of the major components are made in India.“I am also happy to inform that we are making our own guns, we are making our own air defence systems and small arms. You will be happy to know that the Air Chief has now placed a demand for 83 Light Combat Aircraft to be produced by the HAL. We do know that they have a lot of import content in them but gradually we have to start looking at how to ensure that most of the major components are made in India,” he said.

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