New Delhi: In a bonanza for the fledgling domestic industry, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Sunday announced a negative list of 101 imports and their time tables. These include weapon systems like artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, transport aircraft, light combat helicopters (LCHs) and even wheeled armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs).
Contracts worth almost Rs 4 lakh crore will be placed with the domestic industry within the next six to seven years, Singh said in a statement, citing the services’ internal assessment.
Of these, items worth almost Rs 1,30,000 crore each are likely for the Army and the Air Force, while items worth almost Rs 1,40,000 crore are expected by the Navy.
Almost 260 schemes of such items were imported by the three services at an approximate cost of Rs 3.5 lakh crore between April 2015 and August 2020, said Singh.
The Union Ministry of Defence (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,” said Singh.
He said the embargo on imports is planned to 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,” the minister said, adding that the move comes in view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a self-reliant India.
A due note will also be made in the Defence Acquisition Procedures to ensure that no item in the negative list is processed for import in the future.
What the items are
The negative import list includes wheeled AFVs, with an indicative embargo date of December 2021. The Army is expected to contract almost 200 of these at an approximate cost of over Rs 5,000 crore.
Similarly, the Navy is likely to place demands for submarines, with an indicative import embargo date of December 2021. It expects to contract about six at an approximate cost of almost Rs 42,000 crore.
For the Air Force, it is decided to enlist the LCA MK 1A with an indicative embargo date of December 2020. The IAF anticipates 123 of these at an approximate cost of over Rs 85,000 crore.
“Hence, there are highly complex platforms that are included in the list of 101 items, of which details of three examples are given above,” the defence Ministry said in a statement.
India’s domestic defence players welcomed the MoD’s decision. “It is a very welcome decision by the Defence Ministry. All our hard work put in over the last four years will finally bear fruits,” said Vivek Krishnan, chief executive officer, SSS Defence, which has brought out a range of small arms and sniper rifles indigenously.
The full list of items released by the defence ministry: