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Prime Minister Modi's recent visit to China, for an informal summit with President Xi Jingping was a significant milestone in Sino- Indian ties. A major outcome of their talks was the issuance of instructions to their respective militaries to maintain peace along the Sino-Indian border. And though sections of the media have been sceptical of this initiative as part of Mr Modi's efforts to keep peace in our neighbourhood in view of the elections due next year, on the positive side this at least ensures some room for restraint by both Armed Forces along the borders. However, unlike China that has turned into a major exporter of military products and platforms, India remains wedded to importing technologies its defence needs. Thus the beeline by the defence manufacturers into India as they did for the DefExpo 2018, wherein almost all companies indicated that their optimism on long‐term opportunities remains intact, but that they were disappointed with the pace of decision making on defence procurement. With the upcoming general elections in 2019, it could lead to even slower decision making. And where the government will award projects, India's private sector companies expect orders to be skewed towards DPSUs whereas decisions on large private sector contracts are likely to only be taken after the next elections. However, a long overdue requirement has been addressed by the recent announcement that a new body, termed as the Defence Planning Committee (DPC), to get the services to work closely with the bureaucracy to address a number of key national security issues, including defence procurement. The system may work only if all involved move forward in a coordinated manner and the organisation meets at frequent intervals. If it functions akin to the Strategic Planning Group of the NSC, whose meetings are less than infrequent, then this would result in the creation of an additional elephant in government functioning.

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