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AP needs to move quickly in Defence Mfg

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The Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), Delhi, a division of CII recently elected Mr. Jampana Srinivasa Raju, Managing Director of Geo Marine Dynamics (India) Pvt. Ltd as the first chair of the SIDM AP State Chapter.

A geo engineer, Mr. J. Srinivasa Raju has over 25 years of experience in execution of various inter-disciplinary projects for Indian government, Navy & DRDO.

Having gained the trust and been recognized by Defence Industry as a potential person for realization of certain customized/special programmes Mr Raju has been honoured with National and International awards, which includes an award from the Planning Commission of India.

In an exclusive interview to Vizag Industrial Scan Mr Raju spoke on the opportunities the defence sector has for the state of Andhra Pradesh and how it should leverage it.

How is SIDM working towards making India Atma-nirbhar in Defence?

The Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) is a not-for-profit association formed to be the apex body of the Indian defence industry. The main objective of SIDM is to play a proactive role as an advocate, catalyst, and facilitator for the growth and capability building of the defence industry in India and in turn contribute to India’s path to becoming self-reliant or Atma-nirbhar.

How big are the opportunities in the Defence Sector?

Indian Defence has always been a prominent and full of potential sector. However recent government initiatives have propelled its growth and have created extensive opportunities for this sector.

The Indian government has set the defence production target at US$ 25.00 billion by 2025. For the self-reliance initiative, 68% of the capital procurement has been proposed to be reserved for domestic industry, up from 58% in 2021-22. Also, 25 per cent of the research and development budget of the defence ministry has been set aside for India’s private industry, start-ups and academia. This will provide ample opportunities for all the stakeholders of the defence sector to succeed.

Is the Indian Industry ready to supply to the Defence Sector?

With the recent government initiatives, India is getting support to succeed and even stand a chance to compete against long-time players such as established MNCs. These initiatives include the ‘Make in India’ campaign which pushed for self-reliance, aiming for indigenous production of 70% of India’s Defence needs. Other aspects of this campaign included the ‘Positive Indigenization list’ of more than 300 items that were to mandatorily be purchased only from domestic manufacturers, which included many MNCs. Another such initiative is the ‘Strategic Partnership (SP)’ Model which envisages the establishment of long-term strategic partnerships, wherein the global OEMs would tie-up with Indian MSMEs to set up domestic manufacturing infrastructure and supply chains. All of the above will propagate the capabilities of the Indian industry to supply to the defence sector.

Where do you think Andhra Pradesh can play a role in the Defence Sector?

With Visakhapatnam being the headquarters of the Eastern Naval command, Andhra Pradesh can play a significant role in the defence sector. In my mind the state should move fast to grab the opportunity in making it a hub for defence manufacturing. Please keep in mind there are other states contemplating on creating similar hubs hence we need to act swiftly.

What kind of ecosystem does AP need to create to become a Defence Manufacturing Hub?

The possibility of an MSME park, a Defence Industrial Complex with plug and play facility, would create a manufacturing cluster generating employment on almost all fronts of the industry. Presence of common facility centers (such as Defence Laboratories, Accredited testing centres, Ports, etc.) and manufacturing units within AP will help reduce the manufacturing charges. The presence of Technology centres and renowned Universities provides easy access to technology as well as skilled resources and thus provides gain in capital to the MSME units. The MSME park would accommodate various industries providing a plethora of opportunities for job seekers.

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