Defence Reforms in India

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 5, 2022, 7:42

On June 07, 2021, Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh announced 20 Reforms in 2020 - an e-booklet highlighting a range of Defence Reforms in India introduced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Defence Reforms Introduced in India - Overview

The reforms were primarily introduced to improve the cohesion and modernization of the Indian Armed Forces through innovation, digitization, and policy changes.

The Defence Reforms in India are also a part of the Prime Minister Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative. The reforms further strengthen border infrastructure, boost women's participation in defence, create digital transformation, and provide defence acquisitions with transparency, among others.

Major Defence Reforms in India

Appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff and Department of Military Affairs

One of the major decisions taken by the MoD was -

  • The appointment of India's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to enhance the coordination and efficiency among the Indian Armed Forces. General Bipin Rawat was appointed as the first CDS.
  • Creation of the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) to heighten civil-military integration.

Aatma Nirbharta in Defence

A list of 101 defence items was created in August 2020 to support the Make in India mission in the defence sector. In 2020-21, a budget of Rs 52,000 crore was also earmarked for the indigenous making of defence equipment.

Increased Defence Exports

The value of defence exports grew from Rs 1,941 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 9,116 crore in 2019-20. This placed India on the list of defence equipment exporting nations for the first time.

Modernization and Increased Transparency in Defence Acquisition

To improve transparency, policy Defence Reforms in India launched a new Defence Acquisition Procedure in September 2020 and revised the DRDO Procurement Manual in October 2020. To support modernization, the budget was increased by 10 percent in 2020-21.

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Defence Acquisitions

In July 2020, the first five Rafale fighter aircraft arrived in India to strengthen the arsenal of the Indian Air Force.

Reforming Defence R&D

Five Young Scientists Laboratories of DRDO were inaugurated in 2020 to encourage innovation among young scholars.

Digital Transformation

A digital sweep was witnessed among several organizations of the MoD. Some of the departments that went online are the Armed Forces Tribunal, Defence Estates, and Canteen Stores Department, among others.

Strengthening Border Infrastructure

In October 2020, the Prime Minister inaugurated the world's longest Atal tunnel above 10,000 feet at Rohtang on the Leh-Manali Highway. The Zoji La pass was opened in April 2020.

Stree Shakti in Armed Forces

In 2020, the MoD made some historic decisions like allowing ten streams of the Indian Army to provide Permanent Commission to women officers.

Reforms in NCC

To expand the reach of the NCC to remote locations, more than 1,075 schools and colleges in border and coastal areas were identified. In May 2020, NCC cadets were given preference in employment in the Central Armed Police Forces.

In his address at the Combined Commanders Conference in December 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hinted at the modernization and expansion of India's defence forces through revised reforms.

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FAQs on Defence Reforms in India

Q.1. Why are the Defence Reforms in India important?

The recently undertaken Defence Reforms in India have rationalized India's military assets more than any other defence reforms that have taken place in post-Independence India.

Q.2. When were the Defence Reforms in India undertaken?

The Ministry of Defence introduced the Defence Reforms in India in the year 2020.

Q.3. How were the Defence Reforms in India released?

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh released a compilation of the Defence Reforms in India in the form of an e-booklet titled, 20 Reforms in 2020 on June 07, 2021.

Q.4. How many Defence Reforms in India were released?

A compilation of 20 Defence Reforms in India was released by the MoD.