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Aatmanirbhar India bans import of 101 defence equipment

Vivek Mishra
Vivek MishraApr 08, 2022 | 18:18

Aatmanirbhar India bans import of 101 defence equipment

To reduce its over-reliance on Russia for defence equipment and to avoid security breaches, India is strengthening its local manufacturing.

With an aim to boost India's self-reliance in the defence sector, Union Minister of Defence, Rajnath Singh, on Thursday released a list of over 101 military equipment that will come under an import ban and be developed indigenously in the next five years.

The list includes sensors, light-weight tanks, naval utility helicopters, patrol vessels, anti-ship missiles and anti-radiation missiles, said a release by PIB.

"It gives me great pleasure to release the third positive indigenisation list of 101 defence equipment and platforms to the nation. The release of this list shows the fast pace of our self-reliance in the defence sector," Singh said.

In May last year, India had restricted 108 military weapons and systems which included airborne early warning systems, tank engines and radars.

WHY THIS PUSH FOR SELF-RELIANCE NOW?

India has always been dependent on developed countries to get modern defence equipment. The lack of domestic defence manufacturing has led to India paying huge amounts to get these items. And, in many cases, these weapons and systems turn out to be outdated and ill-equipped when compared with other top militaries in the world.

Indian armed forces are projected to spend around USD 130 billion in capital procurement over the next five years, and the government wants to reduce dependence on imported military platforms, reported PTI.

The defence ministry has set a goal of a turnover of USD 25 billion in defence manufacturing in the next five years.

make_040822035831.jpgPhoto: Make In India (@makeinindia)

OVERDEPENDENCE ON RUSSIA

India is the world’s largest buyer of Russian weapons. According to a Bloomberg report, India’s military hardware is still almost 70% Russian, and the cost to replace these equipment is just too much.

In 2021, India cleared a proposal to make over 5 lakh AK-203 assault rifles in partnership with Russia. In 2019, India sealed a USD 3 billion deal with Russia for leasing a nuclear-powered submarine for the Indian Navy for a period of 10 years.

According to a report in the Deccan Herald, the Indian Air Force is planning on buying and upgrading 21 MiG-29 fighters lying unused in Russia.

Even though India is trying to diversify its defence imports, it still pays Russia in billions to buy its equipment. 

Two-thirds of Indian military equipment is still of Soviet/Russian origin, a report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) said.

The import ban list has been announced by India at a time when there is uncertainty over the supply of military hardware by Russia to India. The US and other western countries have imposed sanctions over Russia after it invaded Ukraine.

IMPORTED WEAPON SYSTEMS PRONE TO SECURITY BREACHES

The defence minister, while pushing for indigenous development of defence equipment and technologies, said that the import of systems with foreign software codes can prove to be dangerous for the security system as it opens the window of vulnerability. 

“Today, the scope of defence is not limited to borders only. No matter how strong the system is, if it is linked to another country, there is a possibility of a security breach. Earlier, the defence equipment, such as tanks and helicopters, were mainly mechanical in nature. It was not possible to control them. But, newer defence systems and platforms are electronic and software intensive. They can be controlled or subverted from anywhere,” Rajnath Singh said.

ROLE OF DRDO IN MAKING INDIAN DEFENCE 'AATMANIRBHAR'

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has pitched in to strengthen local manufacturing by signing 30 Transfer of Technology (ToT) agreements with 25 industries. The Defence Minister on Thursday handed over the agreements pertaining to 21 technologies developed by 16 DRDO laboratories spread across the country. 

These technologies include Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG), developed by a DRDO Young Scientist Lab (DYSL-QT, Pune), Counter Drone System, Laser Directed Energy Weapon System, missile warheads, high explosive materials, high grade steel, specialised materials, Radar Warning Receivers, etc. 

So far, DRDO has entered into more than 1,430 ToT agreements with Indian industries, out of which, a record number of around 450 ToT agreements have been signed in the last two years.

Last updated: April 08, 2022 | 18:18
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