March 18th is celebrated as the Ordnance Factories’ Day which is celebrated by displaying the rifles, guns, artillery, ammunition etc in exhibitions all over India. The Day is regarded as an event to confirm the dedication of the Ordnance Board to the nation, by means of ensuring high-quality products for the armed forces of India. The production of India’s oldest Ordnance Factory, which is at Cossipore of Kolkata, started in 18th of March, 1802. OFB is the 37th largest defence equipment manufacturer in the world, 2nd largest in Asia, and the largest in India. It is an umbrella body for the ordnance factories and related institutions, and is currently a subordinate office of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).The IOFs play a vital role in the production, testing, logistics, research, development, and marketing of a comprehensive product range in the area of land, sea and air systems.It is the need of every country to have proper arms and ammunition for the security of the citizens. Popularly known as the Fourth Arm of Defence, the Ordnance Factories Board is one of the four arms of defence in the country, along with the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy. The history of Ordnance Factory and this day has its roots stuck deep into times of the British Rule in India. In 1775, East India Company founded the Ordnance Board at Fort William in Calcutta.The celebration of the Ordnance Factories’ Day in India usually starts with the flag hoisting ceremony and the singing of the National Anthem. The Ordnance Factories Day celebration aims to commemorate the oldest industrial factory run by the Government of India, the Ordnance Factory Board.Under the Ministry of Defence, Government of India, the Ordnance Factories Day celebration gives unique opportunity to exhibit the research, development, production, marketing and logistics of the wide range of arms and ammunition by the ordnance factories nationwide.It is to be appreciated that the first Narendra Modi government reclassified 275 products manufactured by these factories as ‘non-core’ items and allowed the military to procure them from the open (read private) market, thereby forcing the Army to cut down purchases from ordnance factories by almost 50 per cent. Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) has drawn up plans to make India self-sufficient in production of arms and ammunition with twin objectives of reducing imports and meeting nation’s requirements.The 41 Indian ordnance factories function under the aegis of the OFB, Kolkata, and have a history dating back to 1775, during which they first assisted the British Empire and, after Independence, in the various wars in the last seven decades, delivering, on most occasions, at short notice.India stands on the threshold of regional/international security leadership, and is challenged by China and Pakistan, with the threat of a two-front scenario. Its armed forces need to be supported with the best technologies and military hardware. In the last six years much has been done to reform the defence industrial sector, and defence is the main pillar of ‘Make in India’. The Ordnance Factories’ Day plays a very important role in the development of India’s armed forces. Let us give due importance.Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit
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