A new Strategic Partnership (SP) Policy has been finalized to boost the Indian private sector's role in production of cutting-edge weapon systems, in collaboration with global armament majors through joint ventures.
The SP policy will initially open up four major segments of fighter jets, helicopters, submarines and armoured vehicles (tanks and infantry combat vehicles) for private sectors players. The government claims that the SP policy will boost its “Make in India” efforts and create jobs.
The SP policy indirectly condemns the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and its 50 labs, five defence PSUs, four shipyards, and the 41 factories under the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) that they have largely failed to deliver the goods over the decades. It is also a notice to lakhs of workers in these public establishments that their jobs are not secure anymore.
As per the SP policy, it is understood that only one company will be selected as the SP at a time in each of the four segments for the long-term partnership. Only big companies with annual turnover of Rs 4,000 crore and capital assets of Rs 2,000 crore will be considered.
This has been the demand of big capitalists of the country that the field of defence equipment must be opened up to the private sector. The SP policy is a step in that direction.