Security scenario critical, says Antony

New Delhi: Describing the security scenario in the country as "critical", Defence Minister A K Antony Wednesday said more high profile indigenous defence equipment were needed.

"The security situation in the country is critical as we are surrounded by hostile countries. Therefore, we need defence equipment urgently," he said in the Rajya Sabha.

Antony said during Question Hour that the government was encouraging DRDO scientists as well as other agencies to develop high profile indigenous defence equipment.

Currently India manufactures 30 per cent of such equipment and depends on imports for the rest, he said adding the government wanted to become self-sufficient in defence production.

"India has faced sanctions on many occasions, but these have only increased our will power. Indian scientists have produced several critical equipment overcoming sanctions," Antony said.

"The transfer of technology (ToT) clause in the contract for procuring equipment is compulsory as we don't want to remain just a buyer. We are preparing a strong defence base and within a reasonable time, India will be able to produce indigenous equipment. DRDO and other agencies are doing their best, though we cannot expect miracles," Antony said.

The minister said that to encourage production of indigenous equipment, the government has allowed 26 per cent FDI in the defence sector and 100 per cent participation of private entities in defence production. Earlier only PSUs were allowed to participate in defence production.

Antony said the Defence Procurement Procedure provides for manufacturing of modern equipment in the country and encouraging Indian industries to participate in manufacturing indigenous equipment.