India is heavily dependent on foreign countries for critical high-end equipment and software. This lack of ownership over critical technology can have serious ramifications on India’s national security especially during times of conflict. As of now, India’s capability to produce even low-to-medium-end defence technology equipment is limited. More importantly, some of the solutions will never be available in the market. For example, the Stuxnet worm that caused extreme devastation to the Iranian nuclear programme is unlikely to be offered to the Indian Military.
The aim of holding the NCTS 2013 was hence threefold. First, suggest a methodology to achieve technological sovereignty in defence acquisition. Second, suggest measures to boost indigenisation and self-reliance and third, examine the procurement process to make it more transparent and user friendly. Domain leaders from the government, military, research establishments and industry expressed their views on specific subjects during the conclave. Prior to the conclave, a series of discussions had also taken place over a six-month period to crystallise thoughts on the subject. These pertained to the importance and possibility of achieving sovereignty in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), the need to re-define and identify organisations for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and the necessity to improve the conditions for research and development within the defence industry, both private and public. Issues related to defence acquisition to include indigenisation and self-reliance, acquisitions through defence offsets and refining of defence procurement procedures were discussed in detail.