Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Monday outlined a raft of initiatives to boost the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (self-reliant India movement) and reduce dependence on imported military hardware.
Among the initiatives listed for the ‘Atma-Nirbharta Week’ celebrations are upgrading facilities of defence public sector undertakings, modernisation of shipyards, launching locally-made defence items and signing of new memoranda of understanding with the private sector to enhance indigenisation.
During a virtual launch of some of the initiatives as part of the Atma-Nirbharta Week celebrations, Singh said the government had made “timely and thoughtful interventions” during the Covid-19 pandemic including issuing a negative list for imports, raising the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in the defence sector and creating a separate budget for domestic capital procurement to promote self-reliance.
From artillery guns to light military transport aircraft and conventional submarines to long-range land attack cruise missiles, India on Sunday announced that it will ban the import of 101 different types of weapons, systems and ammunition over the next five years.
“This list of negative items contains not only small items but weapon systems of high and critical technology. More such items will be added to this list shortly which will save crore of rupees in imports,” the minister said.
It is an established fact that military balance between adversaries cannot be measured or evaluated on imported systems that reflect the degree to which a country’s security has been outsourced, said former army vice chief Lieutenant General (retd) AS Lamba.
“With focus on research and development, new defence technologies and defence manufacturing, the negative import list released on Sunday reflects an aggressive and compelling strategy towards indigenisation,” General Lamba said.
The former army vice chief added that India’s leap towards military industrialisation would alter the dynamics of not only the country’s capability and military posturing, but its export programme can bring greater confidence a