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Defence Ministry Consults Industry on Indigenisation

With Defence Minister A K Antony strongly advocating self-reliance to shake off India’s top-arms-importer tag, the Ministry of Defence has recently begun a dialogue with the domestic private industry to chalk out ways to increase manufacturing of weapons in the country.

Published: 27th December 2013 08:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th December 2013 08:18 AM   |  A+A-

With Defence Minister A K Antony strongly advocating self-reliance to shake off India’s top-arms-importer tag, the Ministry of Defence has recently begun a dialogue with the domestic private industry to chalk out ways to increase manufacturing of weapons in the country.

The industry was called for a meeting with a joint secretary-rank officer in November, where it was suggested that the ministry prepare a plan using industry inputs.

“One of the suggestions made was to make it mandatory that only made-in-India products, with a minimum of 30 percent indigenous content, should be eligible for purchase by the armed forces under the ‘Buy Indian’ category listed in the Defence Procurement Procedure of 2011,” a source said here on Thursday.

For the last two years, India has been listed by the Stockholm-based think tank SIPRI as the world’s largest weapons importer, thanks to  New Delhi’s arms buying spree in the last decade.

At present, India imports 70 percent of the weapons and systems required for its 13.1-lakh strong forces. The country is estimated to spend over `9 lakh crore in the next 15 years on arms purchases.

Another suggestion was to request the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry to allow small and medium defence enterprises to avail themselves of its technology development fund.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation would be asked not to sign exclusive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) sharing agreements with any Indian company. However, Indian firms should be free to have exclusive IPR on Mark-2 or any further development on the base technologies, it has been suggested.

The industry representatives told the ministry to do away with the practice of retracting information requests from the industries and tenders.

They also wanted the ministry to take up the “denial models” by listing out the items that are restricted from being imported and demanded that customs duty be significantly hiked for such items.

For defence products, the ministry should define research and development “time frames” and freeze it for stage-1 and state--2 products, apart from identifying the technology gap in the sector.



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