To promote self-reliance in the defence sector, the central government on Monday notified a list of 108 defence items that cannot be imported by the armed forces with the ban kicking off from December. The ‘positive indigenisation list’, will be implemented progressively from December 2021 to December 2025, the defence ministry said in a statement.
“This will give further boost to indigenisation with active participation of public and private sector for fulfilling the twin objectives of achieving self-reliance and promoting defence exports. All the 108 items will now be procured from indigenous sources as per provisions given in Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020,” the statement said.
This is the second such list to be notified by the government in less than a year.
In August 2020, the government prepared a list of 101 items on which there would be an embargo on import to give a push to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ (self-reliant India movement). The embargo for items in the first list, then called ‘negative import list’, kicks in for different items between 2020 and 2025.
The second list consists of several military systems including specified types of helicopters, next-generation corvettes, airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) systems, tank engines, medium power radar for mountains, medium-range surface to air missile systems and anti-material rifles, the ministry said in a statement.
The first list included artillery guns, missile destroyers, ship-borne cruise missiles, light combat aircraft, light transport aircraft, long-range land-attack cruise missiles, communication satellites, basic trainer aircraft, multi-barrel rocket launchers, a variety of radars, assault rifles, sniper rifles, mini-UAVs and different types of ammunition.
The second list lays special focus on weapons/systems which are currently under development/trials and are likely to translate into firm orders in the future, the ministry said on Monday. Like the first list, import substitution of ammunition, which is a recurring requirement, has been given special focus, it added.
India has set aside ₹70,221 crore this year for domestic defence procurement, accounting for 63% of the military’s capital budget. Last year, the ministry spent over ₹51,000 crore, or 58% of the capital budget, on domestic purchases.
From raising foreign direct investment (FDI) in defence manufacturing to creating a separate budget for buying locally made military hardware and notifying a list of weapons/equipment that cannot be imported, the government announced a raft of measures to boost self-reliance in the defence sector in May 2020.