Domestic pvt players should set up OFB-like ammunition production facility: senior Army official

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NEW DELHI: The Indian Army expects

domestic private players

to establish an ammunition production set-up parallel to the existing government-run Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), a senior official said on Thursday.
The Army also expects timeliness, quality and fair play from domestic private companies during the procurement of

indigenous arms

and ammunition, Lt Gen S K Upadhya, Master General of Ordnance, Indian Army, said.
During a webinar, Upadhya said competition comes in during the bidding process and at that stage, "there are elements in the

industry

who would rather ensure that the other person does not get a contract rather than work towards getting a contract".
"When that happens, the timelines increase and it slightly complicates our work", he added.
He further said, "If the industry can get into a mode of fair participation, we will be happier about it". Upadhya was addressing the webinar titled 'Indigenisation Requirements of Indian Army' organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce.
Upadhya said the Army used to depend on the OFB completely for the ammunition supply. "And whatever was not there in the OFB, we used to import," he added.
He asked private domestic companies to set up a parallel ammunition supply chain.
"OFB is any case available to us. We want a parallel capacity to come up. It may not be at the scale of the OFB. But to start with, at least a parallel set up should come and various types of ammunition would then be available from industry which can then settle down and in the times to come, a scaling up can take place," he noted.
The Army "definitely looks forward to" getting good quality products from private industry players, Upadhya said. He also said timeliness during the delivery of the weapons and equipment is "very critical" for the Army.
"We would look at only quality, timeliness and fair play from the industry side. We would be very happy in deliberating and coming two steps forward," he noted.
To promote indigenous production, the Defence Ministry had on August 9 announced restrictions on the import of 101 weapons and military platforms including light combat helicopters, conventional submarines and cruise missiles under a staggered timeline till 2024.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said the ministry was now ready for a "big push" to indigenous defence manufacturing in tune with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for an '

Atmanirbhar Bharat

' (Self-Reliant India).
India is one of the most lucrative markets for global defence giants. The country has figured among the top three global importers of military hardware for the last eight years.
The Indian armed forces are projected to spend around USD 130 billion in capital procurement in the next five years.

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