Welcome Remarks by Dr Arvind Gupta, Director, VIF on 22 July 2021 -'Vimarsh Talk by Dr Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary, on “India’s Defence Sector Reforms”'

I would like to welcome you all to today Vimarsh talk by the Defence Secretary, Dr Ajay Kumar on India’s Defence Sector Reforms.

I thank him for accepting out invitation to interact with us on this very important issue.

Dr Ajay Kumar joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1985 and is presently heading the Department of Defence of the Government of India since August 2019.

He completed his B Tech in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur, and subsequently completed M.S. Applied Economics from the University of Minnesota, USA and a PhD in Business Administration from Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, USA. He was awarded Hon. Doctor of Philosophy by Amity University in 2019.

He started his service in the State Government of Kerala in early years.

Prior to assuming current appointment, he served in the Ministry of Defence as the Secretary, Department of Defence Production from December 2017 to August 2019.

He has served long years in the electronics sector. He was the Director General, National Informatics Centre (NIC) and the Additional Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology.

He has several publications to his credit in refereed national and international journals including at ICIS, IEEE, IJEC, HICCS etc.

He was adjudged as the “Electronics Leader of the Year” for the year 2012 for promotion of electronics industry in the country.

He was also awarded Distinguished Alumnus Award (DAA)-2019 of IIT Kanpur.


Recently the Raksha Mantri released a booklet listing recent defence reforms. Many of you would have seen that publication.

According to the government, the reforms are aimed at making “India a global powerhouse in the defence sector”.

A number of high visibility reforms have been undertaken:

  • the appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff,
  • the establishment of a Department of Military Affairs,
  • the implementation of the Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020,
  • Aggressive promotion of Make in India,
  • Reservation of 101 items for procurement from domestic sources only,
  • The strong focus on defence exports,
  • Relaxation of FDI rules in the defence sector,
  • Encouragement to innovation through start-ups.
  • The corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board factories.
  • And many more.

    These are positive steps and will have animpact on India’s defence sector.

    But the country’s defence needs are huge.

    A complex security environmentis developing around us. China’s is rapidly modernising its armed forces and introducing new technologies. It is self-sufficient in weapon systems. It has massive capabilities in infrastructure construction.

    A China-Pakistanstrategic nexus is becoming stronger.

    India would need to be prepared for a 2-front scenario.

    We may have to take additional responsibilities in the Indo-Pacific region.

    We need to develop and absorb and increase capabilities in the space and cyber domains.

    We have to preparedfor a hybrid war scenario. The recent Jammu drone attack has raised serious issues for defence planners.

    Civil-military integration is essential and needs to be improved.

    Indigenisation has to develop at a rapid pace.

    Our defence diplomacy and collaborations need to be taken to new levels.

    The availability of adequate resources for defence is a perennial question.

    Dr Ajay Kumar, as Defence Secretary and former Defence Production Secretary, is best placed to give us some insights.

    Dr Ajay Kumar.


quite informative


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