New Delhi, Apr 4 (PTI) In what could be a major policy amendment, the defence ministry is considering bringing in state-run defence public sector undertakings for forging joint ventures with foreign companies under its ambitious strategic partnership model.

The government had unveiled the strategic partnership model last May under which select private firms were to be roped in to build key military platforms like submarines and fighter jets in India in partnership with global defence majors.

Sources said the government is seriously considering involving the defence PSUs under the framework of the strategic partnership model.

There was criticism of the strategic partnership model as it did not envisage any clear role for major defence PSUs like Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited and Bharat Earth Movers Ltd which are leading producers of key military platforms.

Though the policy was announced in May, nothing concrete has taken place on the ground for its implementation.

When asked about the issue, Additional Secretary of Defence Production Subhash Chandra said the government was committed to create a level-playing field for all the stakeholders.

“There are issues relating to our policy on defence manufacturing. We are considering how to involve the DPSUs. We are working on certain issues,” he told reporters at a briefing on upcoming Defence Expo in Chennai.

India is a leading importer of arms and military platforms globally and the current government has been maintaining that indigenisation of defence manufacturing is a priority area.

The new policy was expected to attract billions of dollars of investment in defence manufacturing by private defence majors including leading foreign firms.

The SP model was proposed by the Dhirendra Singh Committee in July, 2015. It had said that for the ‘Make in India’ initiative to become wider in the defence sector, the government should adopt a strategic partnership model, whereby a private firm is chosen for the development of a specific identified platform.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.