Union Minister Rajnath Singh on August 9 said the Defence Ministry will push for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ by introducing an import embargo on 101 military items beyond the given timeline to boost indigenisation of defence production.
In a series of tweets, Singh said taking a cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clarion call for self-reliance, the Ministry of Defence has prepared a list of 101 items “for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timeline indicated against them.”
This embargo on imports would be progressively implemented between 2020 and 2024. “Our aim is to apprise the Indian defence industry about the anticipated requirements of the armed forces so that they are better prepared to realise the goal of indigenisation,” Singh said.Singh claimed the decision will offer a “great opportunity” to the Indian defence industry to manufacture these items by using their own design and development capabilities or by adopting the technologies designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to meet the requirements of the armed forces.
MoD has also bifurcated the capital procurement budget for 2020-21 between domestic and foreign capital procurement routes. A separate budget head has been created with an outlay of nearly Rs 52,000 crore for domestic capital procurement in the current financial year.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) August 9, 2020
The defence minister said that the arms list was prepared by the ministry after consultations with stakeholders, including the armed forces, public and private industry.
“Almost 260 schemes of such items were contracted by the Tri-Services at an approximate cost of Rs 3.5 lakh crore between April 2015 and August 2020. It is estimated that contracts worth almost Rs 4 lakh crore will be placed upon the domestic industry within the next 6 to 7 years,” the defence minister said in a tweet.
All necessary steps would be taken to ensure that timelines for production of equipment as per the Negative Import List are met, which will include a co-ordinated mechanism for hand holding of the industry by the Defence Services.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) August 9, 2020
Of these, items worth almost Rs 1.3 lakh crore each are anticipated for the Army and the Air Force, while items worth almost Rs 1.4 lakh crore are anticipated by the Navy over the same period, Singh added.Singh said the embargo list comprises not only “simple parts”, but also some high-technology weapon systems like artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircraft, Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs) and radars, among others.