Recently a news item was published that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India in Defence Sector received a major boost as the Indian Navy received the first ever completely made in India 30 mm ammunition. The ammunition will be used in AK-630 Guns which is fitted on Warships. The first consignment was handed over to the Indian Navy by Satyanarayan Nuwal, CMD of the Private Defence Equipment manufacturer, the Economic Explosive Limited. Speaking on the occasion Vice Admiral Ghormade said :”this is a major achievement for the country, that private Industry has developed fully indigenous and ammunition. It has been done in 12 months and all components are indigenous”.
C. Srikumar, the General Secretary of All India Defence Employees Federation, which is relentlessly fighting against the Government policy of privatization of Defence Production, especially allowing private players to manufacture those items which the 41 ordnance Factories can manufacture with the available capacity and infrastructure, told www.indianpsu.com “the most unfortunate development which has happened in the Ordnance Factories are some of the senior IOFS officers who even occupied the chair of DGOF & Chairman OFB have subsequently joined private Defence Industries. One former DGOF has joined the solar Group and because of which the Pinnaka Rocket order was given to the Private player”.
He goes on to say that similarly one Ex-DGNAI was also hired by solar Group accordingly to our information. Like this many Army Officers are also in the pay role of various private industries after retirement. These people use their influence in the Armed Forces and in the Ministry to ensure that the orders are not placed on Ordnance Factories and the same is placed to Private industries in the name of Make in India. The news that the 30 mm ammunition is first time being made in India is not correct.
The Ordnance Factory, Khamaria, has been producing this Ammunition, since decades and it is being successfully used by the Army, Navy and Airforce. Its requirement is generally very high like 20 lakhs. The issue which was affecting the production of these ammunition was the limitation of fuse producing capacity. The fuse technology was originally borrowed from Russia by the Ordnance Factories. Due to the vested interest in the OFB in those days, ultimately the private industry got the technology from Russia. Even today the Ordnance Factories are capable of manufacturing any type of Ammunition.
Our experience is that when private sector is involved in Defence manufacturing, they manage in getting support and compromises with regard to the formalities of testing and trial empty proof, filled proof etc., whereas in the case of Ordnance Factories the Factory itself follow strict testing and inspection procedures. If bad ammunitions are passed, then the consequences will be very serious in terms of accidents resulting in loss of lives of our own soldiers, said Srikumar.
Today, we may not be knowing this, but when it is actually used in the battle field or on daily trials we may come to know. Ignoring the Ordnance Factories and placing all indents to the private companies in the name of cost and make in India, is nothing but a drum beating to show that the private sector can do wonders in the Defence Production.
The Government should actually worry about the real well being of our soldiers and also to strengthen and expand Ordnance Factories, so that the Armed Forces are ensured, quality arms, ammunitions, weapons, explosives and Troop comfort items etc. History has several times proved in the past that in the case of any War/any Crisis it was only the Ordnance Factories which has come to the rescue of the Defence of our country. All these drum beating private sectors have vanished away during such crisis.
It’s a known fact that during the Covid-19 pandemic when all the private industries closed their activities and when the country was in dire need of personal protective equipments, ventilators, hospital equipments, sanitizers, medical tents etc., it was the ordnance factoriesand its employees who worked day and night came to the rescue of the government and the front line warriors who were fighting against the pandemic.
30mm ammunition is being manufactured in the Ordnance Factories for ages together. As usual to give a rosy picture about the private industry and to put the Ordnance Factories in bad light these type of propagandas are being carried out. The patriotic defence civilian employees could continue to fight against such type of false propaganda and the conspiracy to undermine and destroy the ordnance Factories, which are the national assets.
Views expressed here are strictly those of C. Srikumar, General Secretary of All India Defence Employees’ Federation (AIDEF)