India announces arms embargo list to ‘strengthen domestic defence production’

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The Defence Ministry of India, on Sunday, announced a list of 101 weapon systems, military equipment and ammunition from abroad that are to be banned progressively from December 2020, in a bid to advance the “domestic defence production.”

Terming the move “a big step towards self-reliance in defence production” in accordance with PM Modi’s “Atmarnirbhar Bharat” initiative, country’s Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh said that it shall be implemented in phases.

According to a report by The Tribune, the ‘Negative Import list’ of 101 embargoed items comprises not just simple parts, but also some high technology weapon systems like artillery guns, assault rifles, warships, sonar systems, submarines, light transport aircraft, light combat helicopters (LCHs), radars and light combat aircraft.

India, being the top importer of weapons and equipment, will be cutting down on these imports as the Ministry of Defence, according to the report, will place orders worth Rs 4 Lakh Crore with the domestic industry over the next 5-7 years.

Though outright procurements of the notified products from abroad will be banned, Indian public and private sector companies can continue to tie-up with foreign manufacturers to produce them in India, a report by Times of India said.

This is in tune with the government decision in May this year to hike the FDI limit to 74% from 49% in the defence production sector through the automatic clearance route, the report added.

The list also includes products that are already being domestically produced or are in the phase of research and development.

Last month, a week after the India and China decided to push ahead with “complete disengagement” of troops in Ladakh’s Galwan valley, the Ministry said that it is laying the groundwork to buy an additional 72,000 Sig Sauer assault rifles for its troops from the United States.

On July 16, reports quoting Defence Ministry said that Indian army is all set to get its hands on the new close quarter battle (CQB) carbines, manufactured by a UAE firm, in order to replace the “outdated and ageing” 9mm British Sterling 1A1 submachine guns that are in service.


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