Strategic Partnership Model a big ticket move: Gen Rawat
Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat has given a thumbs up to the strategic partnership model rolled out by the government to rope in leading private players for defence production, calling it a "big ticket" move to push modernisation of India's armed forces.
Gen Rawat said the new model is expected to fast track Army's modernisation plan as it will bring new technologies and help implement major military manufacturing projects.
The Army has been pressing for updating its weapons systems considering the evolving security scenario in the region and Gen Rawat said the SP model will help the Army in replacing its ageing fleet of tanks and critical weapons.
"The strategic partnership model is a big ticket thing. It will help the modernisation of armed forces. We have to gradually think of replacing our tanks. In the next seven to eight years, some of our old systems will have to be replaced. It is good to start the process now. Because for production to take place, you need time," the Army Chief said.
Under the new model, government will allow Indian private sector companies to form joint ventures with foreign defence majors to build fighter aircraft, helicopters, submarines and main battle tanks in India.
Referring to the Army's modernisation programme, Gen Rawat expressed happiness over its progress and referred to arrival of two ultra light howitzers from the US and also about the Dhanush 155mm artillery gun developed by the DRDO.
"The modernisation programme is moving. It is on fast track. It cannot happen overnight. It is a process," he said, adding the artillery modernisation programme was going on "very very well".
For soldiers, work is their religion: Army Chief
Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat and top brass of the force on Sunday paid glowing tributes to the two soldiers who were killed in a militant attack near Qazigund on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway.
"For a soldier, work is his religion... work is worship for us," Gen Rawat said after paying homage to the soldiers –Naik Dipak Kumar Maity and Manivannan G –at Palam airport. The two soldiers were killed after militants attacked an Army convoy yesterday on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. Four other soldiers were wounded in the attack.
"We must all pay our respect and homage to these brave soldiers who have attained martyrdom in the line of duty," Gen Rawat added.