ISB Updates


Swavalamban II, a seminar on “Strengthening Manufacturing in India through Defence Offsets” was held at the Indian School of Business (ISB) on December 9-10. While Swavalamban I, held in January 2011, sparked off debates and discussions around building capability through self-reliance in defence production, this second seminar provided the participants an opportunity to delve deep into the domain of defence offsets, thus enabling a clearer understanding of the subject.
The seminar was graced by His Excellency Shri E S L Narasimhan, Governor Andhra Pradesh and Shri M M Pallam Raju, Raksha Rajya Mantri on December 9 and December 10, respectively. Their valuable inputs set the context of the seminar on both days. Amongst CEOs, directors, senior defence officials and government officials present were Sunil Kant Munjal, Joint MD, Hero MotoCorp, R C Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, Vijayalakshmi K Gupta, Secretary Defence Finance, Ministry of Defence, Vivek Rae, Director General Acquisition, Ministry of Defence and Vivek Lall, Chairman, Reliance New Venture.
The audience comprised more than 300 delegates from the industry, industry associations, government, College of Defence Management (CDM) fraternity and ISB fraternity. Issues pertaining to defence offsets and manufacturing were discussed at length in the six plenary sessions and two sets of parallel workshops were conducted during the course of the seminar. The discussions were moderated by experts.
The seminar provided insights on the key technologies that need to be identified so that offsets can add strategic value rather than just economic value to the nation. In addition, the discussions highlighted an urgent need to enhance the R&D capacity of the private sector so as to absorb the technology advancements in the respective sectors, become attractive to foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for formation of JVs, and enable Indian companies to become major players in the global supply chain. Thespeakers also voiced the need to relax FDI restrictions to allow OEMs to transfer technology.
Several recommendations emerged from the seminar. Firstl, the private sector (including SMEs) needs to be represented in the government. Second, since there are highly divergent views existing on what the  national offset policy,, there is a need to converge the views and obtain a consensus from all stakeholders in order to form a viable national policy on offsets. Finally, there is a need to benchmark the outcomes of offset policy against those in other countries.
Swavalamban II was highly successful in meeting its objectives, which included analysing the reasons behind the country’s inability to convert transfer of technology from know-how to know-why, understanding the measures that can motivate the private sector to invest substantially in defence R&D and suggesting measures for promoting entrepreneurial initiatives in defence manufacturing. 
Swavalamban III will focus on the issue of “Innovations in Defence and Aerospace.”