Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Indian Defense is in the air again

Defense is in the air again. There is a palpable sign of excitement amongst the Industry players who are suddenly awake to new sense of anticipation as far as defence sector is concerned. After a lull of almost a decade where inaction at large and negative action to some extent was the norm, the industry is looking forward to slew of measures from the new government to kick start the sector out of its deep slumber. And so far government has made right kind of noises. In fact, the new BJP led government’s manifesto explicitly envisages India as an exporter of defense equipments over the next decade. Government has already stuck a right note by increasing FDI in defence to 49% and also enhanced capital expenditure budget by 20%. Well, what it means for domestic defence players? Let’s take a deep breath and soak in the following facts:
a) According to a recent report by a reputed financial house, given Mr. Narendra Modi’s push to reduce import dependence in defence equipments and also to make India self-reliant, India’s likely defence outlay is estimated at USD 248 billion over next decade.
b) According to another report by KPMG, the defence budget is likely to grow at CAGR of 8% to reach $64 billion by 2020. The growth is to be primarily driven by capital expenditure.
The above figures suggest a huge opportunity for not only foreign players but more significantly even for domestic players, given the present government intent to promote the domestic defense industry as also to reduce dependence on imports.
Now, are these mere numbers or are we staring at a tremendous business opportunity?
The anecdotal data as well as common sense approach suggest, the later.
a) NDA has always been known to promote private business enterprise and the current PM is known for his “Gujarat Model” that has a strong place for private enterprise.
b) BJP intends to have a clear focus on Indian Defence with a vision to make it self- reliant & import independent.
c) Govt also clearly intends to promote domestic defence manufacturing that serve three purposes:
  1. It revs up the Indian Manufacturing sector and help aid our economy
  2. Create much needed employment for youth and
  3. Takes a significant step towards its ultimate goal of being self-reliant in defence.
stsplNo doubt that Indian top business houses like TATA, RIL, Mahindra, L&T are aggressively eyeing defense as a sunrise sector for coming decade. It is noteworthy that currently Indian Domestic defence manufacturing is distinctly dominated by Public Sector (DPSU) & Govt (OFB) which together account for 90% of defence manufacturing. Here, it is also noteworthy that opening up of largely govt dominated sectors in the past has meant huge business opportunities for private sector, teleocm, media and Aviation being the cases in point.

The above argument clearly suggests a huge door (not window) of opportunities for private enterprises in this now rightly called “Sunrise Sector”.

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