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Defence Minister releases 3rd list of weaponry to be banned for import to boost self-reliance in defence manufacturing

NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday released the third list of over 101 military systems and weapons that will come under an import ban over the next five years and be developed indigenously, in a fresh impetus to the Indian armament industry.

Releasing the list at an event, Singh said it covers major equipment and platforms including sensors, weapons and ammunition, naval utility helicopters, patrol vessels, anti-ship missile and anti-radiation missiles.

"Today, 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," he said.

The first "positive indigenisation" list of 101 items that included towed artillery guns, short-range surface-to-air missiles, cruise missiles and offshore patrol vessels was issued in August 2020.

In May last year, the government approved restrictions on the import of an additional 108 military weapons and systems such as next-generation corvettes, airborne early warning systems, tank engines and radars under a staggered timeline of four-and-half years.

"Our two important objectives are self-reliance in the defence sector, and promoting exports of military equipment. The release of this list will encourage indigenisation with the participation of public and private sector, and we will move fast towards achieving both these goals," Singh said.

The defence minister said India's self-reliance in the defence sector does not mean working in isolation from the rest of the world.

"It means working in our own country with their (foreign firms) active participation and support," Singh said.

In the last few years, the government has taken a series of measures to promote domestic defence production.

India, facing tough challenges from neighbours on its northern and western frontiers, is one of the largest importers of arms globally. According to estimates, the Indian armed forces are projected to spend around USD 130 billion (one billion is equal to Rs 100 crore) in capital procurement over the next five years.

The government now wants to reduce dependence on imported military platforms, and has decided to support domestic defence manufacturing.

The defence ministry has set a goal of a turnover of USD 25 billion (Rs 1.75 lakh crore) in defence manufacturing in the next five years which includes an export target of USD 5 billion (Rs 35,000 crore) worth of military hardware.

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