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India Bans Import of 108 Defence Items

© AP Photo / Saurabh Das / Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 fighters fly in formation
Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 fighters fly in formation - Sputnik International, 1920, 31.05.2021
In August 2020, the "First Positive Indigenisation", comprising 101 items of defence equipment, was released by the Indian Ministry of Defence. which banned the import of these items for a period of five years. The move is aimed at self-reliance in the defence sector and the development of capabilities for weapons sales in the future.

In line with the Indian government's 'Self Reliant India' policy, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved a proposal from the Department of Military Affairs to notify a list of defence equipment which will now be procured from indigenous sources. 

The "Second Positive Indigenisation List", as it is termed, lays special emphasis on weapons and systems that are currently under trials or advanced stages of development.

A statement released by the Ministry said that import substitution of ammunition, which is a recurring requirement, has been given a special focus. 

It is hoped that the government initiative of acknowledging the potential of the Indian Defence industry will give an impetus to domestic research and development by attracting fresh investment into technology and manufacturing capabilities.

The list comprises complex systems, sensors, simulators, weapons and ammunition including helicopters, next generation Corvettes, Air Borne Early Warning and Control systems, tank engines, medium power radar for mountains, and other equipment.

The second list is planned to be implemented progressively with effect from December 2021 to December 2025. 

By December 2025, more sophisticated equipment including a Surface Mine Clearance System will also be procured from domestic sources.

By December 2024, a drop tank for Jaguar and Mirage Aircraft is expected to be manufactured domestically to fulfill the needs of the Defence Ministry.

The list was prepared by the ministry after several rounds of consultation between the government and the private manufacturing industry. Besides giving an impetus to medium scale industry in the defence sector, it also provides a window of opportunity for "start-ups". 

The ministry has entrusted its elite research and development wing -- the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) -- to "hand hold the industry" to ensure that timelines are met. 

India has set aside 64 percent of the military's capital budget in the financial year 2021-22 for buying locally-produced weapons and systems to boost defence indigenisation. Last year, the Ministry of Defence spent 58 percent of its capital budget on domestic purchases.

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