On the occasion of the 75th Independence day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation from the Red Fort and emphasized on some important matters like self-dependence, national security, health security, and the road to become vocal for local. He cited an example of a child who when crosses the age of 21 and becomes an adult, he/she is sent out to earn their own bread. In the same way, the country should also become self-dependent and start producing its own line of products and equipment.
As a step towards achieving so, an import embargo has been introduced on 101 defense equipment, platforms, and weapons by the government. Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh himself made the announcement just a few days before independence day. He said that in order to boost the aboriginality of defense production, this step was very essential.
The import will be officially implemented December onwards and will be of extensive nature i.e. it will be implemented on other equipment too.
In May, while announcing relief stimulus packages for various sectors, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a big package for the defense sector too that would enable domestic vendors to boost up their own production line and contribute to giving indigenous equipment to the armed forces.
An estimated amount of Rs 4 lakh crore worth of orders will be placed with domestic manufacturers to support the venture, over a period of seven years. The embargo may be implemented during the span of four years i.e 2020-2024.
India has been importing defense equipment in large numbers over all these years. Very recently, Rafale fighter jets were flown down here from France to become part of the Indian Air Force. India has been among the top three importers of Defense equipment.
Mr. Rajnath Singh said that ‘as per the Prime Minister, the five pillars of a self- dependent India would be economy, infrastructure, system, demography, and demand. All these have been kept in mind while taking this big step towards flourishing the aim of making Bharat- Aatma Nirbhar.
The designated budget has been bifurcated in Domestic and Foreign capital procurement. A domestic capital procurement budget has been prepared for the current financial year worth Rs 52,000 crore.
In case some equipment is imported, domestic vendors will be looked for as soon as possible to make that equipment locally itself. This step is itself very rewarding as it would help the three forces, the government and the nation to become confident and the most important thing is a lot of jobs and opportunities will be created for people here.
The decision has been taken after rounds of discussion, brainstorming, and avenue analysis after consultations with the armed forces, public and private stakeholders to discover probable capabilities of domestic production lines for manufacturing various ammunition and equipment within India.
Various organizations like Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), and private industry we’re part of the discussion.
The Department of Military Affairs was responsible for preparing the list of equipment that has been banned. The DMA under the leadership of Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat has prepared the list of the items. The Defence Ministry said in one of its statements that the items mentioned in the list would give a great opportunity to the Indian vendors to produce and sell better equipment with far ahead of technology and also work with DRDO and take the help of their research to perfect designs.
According to the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP), it would be made sure that these equipment are surely not imported in the future.
What items have made it on the list?
The list not only comprises solid hardware but simpler parts too. So a mixture of both will be banned and reproduced here. For example artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircraft, light combat helicopters (LCH), radars, conventional diesel-electric submarines, communication satellites, and shipborne cruise missiles, etc.
What will be produced for the different forces in the near future?
ARMY– Wheeled Army Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) are being planned to be procured. Around 200 will be contracted probably, incurring a cost of Rs 5,000 crores. The vehicles will probably go under an indicative import embargo by December 2021.
NAVY– Submarines worth Rs 42,000 crores that are planned to go under import embargo by December 2021. About 6 of them will be looked out for.
AIR FORCE– Light Combat Aircraft MK1A which will go under import embargo by December 2020. 123 of them are being expected to be contracted at a cost of Rs 42,000 crore.
The aim of the defense forces is to impose this embargo and make India self-reliant in terms of defense equipment production as soon as possible. As the list is progressive, more and more equipment will be added to it in near future paving and shortening to the way for Bharat to become AATMA NIRBHAR.