India does not differentiate between foreign and domestic companies but going forward, it will "possibly" not import any defence item, a top Defence Ministry official said on Wednesday.
India was the world’s largest importer of major arms in 2017-21 and accounted for 11 per cent of total global arms imports in the period, Stockholm-based defence think-tank SIPRI had stated earlier this month.
As long as foreign OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are in India, and as long as they are designing and manufacturing within India, the Indian government is completely equitable, said Sanjay Jaju, Additional Secretary (Defence Production), Ministry of Defence, in his speech at an event of industry body PHDCCI.
"I have friends from global OEMs like Lockheed Martin sitting right here. It is not a commentary on foreign OEMs because we are ownership agnostic now,” he said.
The Centre does not differentiate between foreign OEMs and L&Ts (domestic OEMs) of the world, Jaju stated.
"For us, all of you are equal. All our policies are designed in a manner in which all of you get equal opportunities. But one point that is now coming is that going forward, possibly we will not be importing anything. One can say that at the outset,” he said.
In the last four months, the Centre has been reviewing all the "Buy-Global" cases that are in the contracting phase right now, Jaju said.
Under "Buy-Global" procurement category, outright purchase of defence items — with no need of subsequent indigenous production — from foreign and Indian vendors is permitted.
Jaju said the Centre has cancelled close to Rs 60,000 crore worth of "Buy-Global" cases.
"A little bit of difficult situation for the Lockheeds (foreign OEMs) of the world but I think you can substitute it with a string of projects…to design and develop the systems within our country,” he added.