Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Tuesday called for increased inclusion of indigenous technology in the security forces and said that India will fight and win its next war using home-grown weaponry.

“And, if we are looking at the contours of future warfare, it may not necessarily be contact warfare,” Rawat said at the 41st Defence Research and Development Organisation Conference in New Delhi. “So, there is realm of non-contact warfare. We need to start looking at development of cyberspace, space, laser, electronic warfare and robotics...and, along with that, artificial intelligence.”

Rawat said that weapons should be developed, keeping in mind “future warfare”, adding that it would be too late if if they did not start thinking about the development of these weapons now.

The Army chief lauded the DRDO for its achievements in the last few decades on research and development. He said the fact that India was one of the largest importers of weapons was not a “very proud statement to make”. “But in the past few years, it is changing,” he said. “DRDO is striving to ensure our requirements of services are met with home-grown solutions.”

Rawat said that it would be better for service officers to work alongside research and development so that the timeline between design development and production of weapons is reduced. “In a joint project, the success and failures will become a joint responsibility and we will not start pointing fingers at each other,” ANI quoted Rawat as saying.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was the guest of honour at the two-day event, which was attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, India Airforce Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh, among others.

“The time has come that we start reducing our dependence on imported systems and develop an eco-system wherein, defence equipment designed, developed and produced indigenously meet the performance requirements and are inducted in the Indian Armed Forces,” Singh tweeted.

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