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In big push for 'atmanirbhar Bharat', Defence Ministry to embargo import of 101 items in phases

The list of 101 embargoed items comprises some high technology weapon systems like artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircraft, light combat helicopters.

Published: 09th August 2020 10:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th August 2020 01:19 PM   |  A+A-

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Aiming to realise the goal of indigenised defence production the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Sunday released a list of 101 items including the arms and equipment which the country will stop importing in phased manner. The list prepared in consultation with all stake holders will lead to contracts worth almost Rs four lakh crore be placed upon the domestic industry within the next five to seven years.

Bharat Bhushan Babu, Spokesperson, MoD said, “The list of 101 embargoed items also includes high technology weapon systems and is prepared after several rounds of consultations with all stakeholders, including Army, Air Force, Navy, DRDO, Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and private industry to assess current and future capabilities of the Indian industry for manufacturing various ammunition/weapons/platforms/equipment within India, told Mr Babu.

The embargo on imports is planned to be progressively implemented between 2020 to 2024. The Department of Military Affairs (DMA), Ministry of Defence (MoD) has prepared the list. More such equipment for import embargo would be identified progressively by the DMA in consultation with all stakeholders.
 
The list of items incudes artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircrafts, light combat helicopters (LCHs), radars and many other items to fulfil the needs of our Defence Services. The list also includes, wheeled Armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) with indicative import embargo date of December 2021, of which the Army is expected to contract almost 200 at an approximate cost of over Rs 5,000 crore.

Similarly, the Navy is likely to place demands for Submarines with indicative import embargo date of December 2021, of which 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. Of these, 123 are anticipated at an approximate cost of over Rs 85,000 crore.

This push came after PM Narendra Modi’s clarion call for self-reliance and is part of the special economic package for self-reliant India named Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, added Mr Babu.
 
Mr Bharat Bhushan highlighted, “This is a big step also offers a great opportunity to the Indian defence industry to rise to the occasion to manufacture the items in the negative list by using their own design and development capabilities or adopting the technologies designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces in the coming years.”

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. With latest embargo on import of 101 items, it is estimated that contracts worth almost Rs four lakh crore will be placed upon the domestic industry within the next five to seven years. Of these, items worth almost Rs 1,30,000 crore each are anticipated for the Army and the Air Force while items worth almost Rs 1,40,000 crore are anticipated by the Navy over the same period.
 
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.
 
In another relevant step, the MoD has 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.

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