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India is focusing on manufacturing weapons in the country: Army chief Rawat

Press Trust of India/New Delhi 14 Mar 18 | 08:45 AM

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat

India has depended on the import of weapon, but it is now focusing on manufacturing weapons in the country with the transfer of technology, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said on Tuesday at an event organised by the Vivekanand India Foundation.

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The reliance of the armed forces has also been on ordnance factories but the picture is now changing, he said.

"We have always depended on import of equipment in our country. And therefore, what happened was, we did not allow the indigenous industry to develop," Rawat added.

Army Chief also lauded China's military prowess, saying the neighbouring country, along with its economic rise, also focused on military modernisation.

"They have arrived well before the intended time than we had thought they would arrive," Rawat said. 

Last week, China, the second largest economy in the world, unveiled its largest defence spending increase in three years, setting an 8.1 per cent growth target this year, fuelling an ambitious military modernisation programme and making its neighbours nervous.

"While China ensured that their economy must rise, they did not forget the rise of their military power.

"They ensured that while their economy was developing the military power must rise simultaneously and that is why they are strong today in the international world order challenging the might of the United States of America, which was until now the sole security provider," he said.

Rawat said the world looks at India as a country that can balance the rise of China in the region as it was showing its "assertiveness".

Rawat also said strong economic growth is only possible with a strong defence.

"We cannot become the net security provider if the economy does not keep pace with the changes," Rawat said.

When asked on whether India should militarily intervene in the Maldivian crisis amidst growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean region and its proximity to the archipelago nation, he said India's decision to not intervene militarily in the on-going Maldivian crisis was a well thought out, but only time will tell whether it was a right step or not.

"I am quite sure that diplomats and political entity in the country did look at the Maldives and did what they thought was the best for them. How this will pan out in future, let's wait and watch," Rawat said.

The Maldives has been witnessing political crises after an emergency was declared in the island nation by its President Abdulla Yameen.

India has expressed its displeasure over the development.

"Did we do the right thing by not stepping in? Only time will tell. I am quite sure that whoever took a decision on whether we should intervene in Maldives or not it must have been a well-thought out decision. We should wait and watch and not jump the gun," he added.

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