Defence Minister Rajnath Singh banned import of 101 defence items in big push for Atma Nirbhar Bharat

Vaishali Singh

The defence ministry will stop the import of 101 items “beyond given timeline” to boost indigenous production according to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mission of Atma Nirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India), Union minister Rajnath Singh said today.  This would mean that the domestic industry will receive contracts worth almost Rs 4 lakh crore within the next six to seven years. The embargo will be implemented in phases between 2020 and 2024, the minister said.

The list includes high technology weapon systems like “artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircrafts, light combat helicopters, radars and many other items”, the Centre said in a statement

The list also includes wheeled Armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs), with  an 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,” the ministry said.

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, the government said. The ministry will identify more such equipment for import embargo.

The list has been prepared by the defence ministry after consultations with all stakeholders, including the Armed Forces, public and private industry, Mr SIngh said.

“This decision will offer a great opportunity to the Indian defence industry to manufacture the items in the negative list by using their own design and development capabilities or adopting the technologies designed and developed by the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces,” the minister said.

All steps will be taken to ensure that timelines for production are met. This would involve a coordinated mechanism for “hand-holding of the industry by the Defence Services”, the minister said. The ministry will identify more such equipment for import embargo.