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  India   All India  01 Jun 2019  Challenges for Rajnath Singh: Reform, modernisation

Challenges for Rajnath Singh: Reform, modernisation

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jun 1, 2019, 1:33 am IST
Updated : Jun 1, 2019, 6:32 am IST

Singh will have to look at big-ticket defence reforms amid the ongoing modernisation process.

Rajnath Singh (Photo: PTI/File)
 Rajnath Singh (Photo: PTI/File)

New Delhi: Rajnath Singh, who was home minister during Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s previous term, is the new defence minister now.

Unlike several of his cabinet colleagues who took charge of their offices on Friday, hours after the portfolios were announced on Friday, Mr Singh did not immediately join the new office in Defence Ministry located in South Block. He is expected to take charge on Saturday.

 

However, when he takes over the reigns from his predecessor Nirmala Sitharaman, Mr Singh will have to look at big-ticket defence reforms amid the ongoing modernisation process.

Among the major procurements that the new defence minister will need to give a go ahead is critical military equipment. Close to 400 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force and over 50 for the Navy, 111 light Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH), submarines, warships, armoured vehicles, UAVs and military helicopters need to be procured on a priority basis.

As part of big-ticket reforms, a major task at hand before the new minister is the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and integrated operations for the three services. The government also needs to make the Indian defence industry, particularly the public sector, more competitive as compared to foreign players by investing in research and development.

 

A major part of the Prime Minister’s speeches in the election rallies focused on the defence and security preparedness of India. With a comfortable margin in Lok Sabha, now is the time for the NDA government to strengthen the defence forces through military procurements, modernisation and reforms. Meanwhile, defence secretary Sanjay Mitra was given an extension of three months. He was to retire from service on Friday after the completion of his two-year tenure.

Tags: rajnath singh, modi government