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In a recent interview, Baba Kalyani, Chairman of Bharat Forge, shared a captivating story highlighting the challenges and triumphs of India’s private defense sector. The anecdote centered around the development of their first artillery gun, the Bharat 52.

Developed in 2012, the Bharat 52 faced a critical hurdle – a lack of testing facilities. Back then, government firing ranges were inaccessible to private companies like Bharat Forge. This meant the company couldn’t test-fire their own gun, essentially stalling its development.

After years of navigating bureaucratic hurdles, Kalyani decided to take matters into his own hands. In 2017, he opted to send the Bharat 52 to the United States for testing. Leveraging his network of retired military personnel, Kalyani secured permission from the US Department of Defense within a record 45 days. The US conducted the test firing, sending Bharat Forge a video and a comprehensive report.

Returning to India, Kalyani used this successful US test as a powerful argument. He presented his experience at an Army Conference in Delhi, showcasing the video and the story of his struggle. This public demonstration proved impactful. Within a month, the then-defense minister implemented a policy change, opening up government firing ranges to private companies.

Kalyani’s experience highlights a crucial turning point for India’s defense sector. It demonstrates the potential of private companies to contribute to indigenous defense development, but also the initial roadblocks they faced in terms of access to testing facilities. The policy change spurred by Kalyani’s initiative has likely paved the way for smoother development and testing for future private defense projects in India.