Indian Army builds defence against outdated technology

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Indian Army builds defence against outdated technology
NEW DELHI: In a move that could unlock defence contracts of more than Rs 25,000 crore, the government is in the process of amending its defence procurement manual, which will enable the armed forces to procure the latest tech in a speedy manner.

The move to amend defence procurement manual (DPM) by adding a separate chapter on tech products — a long standing demand of the industry — will significantly speed up the process of the defence forces procuring and implementing the latest technology, people aware of the development said. At present, defence procurement takes years, sometimes up to a decade, they said.
The ministry of defence (MoD) has already drafted the chapter on IT to be included in DPM post consultations with the three defence forces, according to multiple sources.

Tech companies and experts have hailed the move as a big step forward that will make the country’s army, navy and air force digitally savvy.

Independent aerospace, space and defence consultant Ratan Shrivastava said the proposed amendment will be mutually beneficial for the industry and the forces. It will help standardise IT requirements for the armed forces, while domestic and foreign companies can help enable tactical and logistic automation of the forces in a given timeframe, he said.

An executive at a top IT firm said defence forces will need an outlay of at least Rs 25,000-30,000 crore if India has to come on a par with the IT roadmap they have set for themselves “The overall IT roadmap of the defence is maybe 10 years behind,” said the executive who is aware of the development.

“The fact that clearly the next war is going to be won on the basis of information where technology plays a key role will give a fillip to focus on IT programmes.”
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The opportunity in defence for IT is “massive” with Rs 4,500-5,000 crore of immediate projects which are long pending, the person said.

The proposal is being spearheaded by the integrated defence staff of the ministry of defence, which held consultations with industry bodies such as Nasscom last month, sources said.

The ministry did not respond to queries sent by ET as of press time on Wednesday. A ministry official said the proposal is at a nascent stage and the IT chapter is in a draft format, and is being examined.

Amending the procurement manual will enable the defence forces to have not only common procurement but also a visibility into the current and future inventory, with a fast-track system to procure the latest tech.
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