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In his final opinion piece for “The Print,” retired General MM Naravane raises a critical concern regarding India’s defense procurement strategy. He argues that the pursuit of the “perfect” weapon system, often embodying the “Future Combat Vehicle (FCV)” concept, can lead to delays and ultimately result in acquiring no new equipment at all.

Gen. Naravane highlights the “FCV” program, aimed at replacing aging tanks and personnel carriers, as an example of this “wishful thinking” approach. He warns against focusing on “weapons you wish you had” and emphasizes the need for a more practical and adaptable approach.

He acknowledges the challenges faced by the Armed Forces, often accused of seeking unrealistic equipment. However, he emphasizes the long-term nature of defense procurement, where equipment developed today may be utilized for decades.

Gen. Naravane urges both the Armed Forces and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to adopt a more pragmatic approach. He suggests:

  • DRDO: Focus on developing niche technologies instead of pursuing all-encompassing platforms.
  • Armed Forces: While acknowledging the need for modern equipment, temper their aspirations with operational realities.

He emphasizes the diverse terrain and climatic conditions of the Indian subcontinent, insisting that no single platform can effectively operate across such varied landscapes. He advocates for a nuanced approach, tailoring doctrines and equipment choices to specific sectors and combat scenarios.

Gen. Naravane’s perspective prompts a crucial discussion on balancing long-term vision with immediate needs in India’s defense procurement strategy. By fostering a more adaptable and realistic approach, India can ensure its armed forces remain equipped to handle diverse threats and maintain national security.