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Atmanirbhar Bharat move a defining moment of resilience

The proclamation made by India on Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India), at a time when Covid-19 is having a negative impact on the Indian economy and unfriendly neighbours showing signs of aggression across borders, seems to be a defining moment of resilience. The debates on self-reliant India have gained momentum. Some suggest it is high time India moved towards self-reliance and reduced its dependency on its neighbour China. Others argue whether India is prepared enough to achieve self-reliance in the current circumstances.

India has obviously been transitioning from a middle power to a great power status. Even in the worst-case scenario, when India became a victim of both technological and economic sanctions after its nuclear test in 1974, it had shown its resilience and moved ahead with its nuclear and other strategic programmes. Both the United States and the West wanted to see India crippling in every sphere. The sanctions regime proved to be a boon in disguise and India became self-reliant in its strategic programmes. India’s dependency on the US in particular got decreased. The US had stopped cooperation with India and also pressurised other powers not to cooperate with India. India did pay the price in terms of time and money, but became self-reliant. India constructed all its Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) without any cooperation from elsewhere.

It was because of India’s commitment and dedication that success in strategic programmes was achieved. No country will ever support India in enhancing its strategic capabilities whether it has to do with nuclear, space or state-of-the-art defence technologies. If India can achieve such prowess, then why can’t it improve its overall capabilities in the manufacturing sector? India’s dependence on China in this sector is quite huge. It is high time India re-invented itself and moved towards developing a strong base in the manufacturing sector. There are, however, a number of challenges in building a strong infrastructure for the manufacturing sector.

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