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Defence ministry puts restrictions on import of 107 items under staggered timeline

NEW DELHI (PTI):  The Indian defence ministry has announced a fresh list of 107 sub-systems and components that will not be allowed to import under a staggered timeline of six years beginning December with a primary aim to promote indigenisation.

The list comprises components required in the production of helicopters, submarines, warships, tanks, missiles, radars and communication systems many of which are currently procured from Russia.

In December last year, the defence ministry released a list of 2851 sub-systems and components which will come under import embargo under a specific timeline.

Some of the components and sub-systems identified for import embargo in the fresh list are used for construction of indigenously developed Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), electronic warfare system, Astra missile, T-90 tanks and infantry combat vehicles.

The list released by the Defence Ministry comprised 22 items that will be taken up for indigenisation by the state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) while Bharat Electronics Ltd will indigenise 21 sub-systems.

The Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders will take up indigenisation of six components and subsystems used for construction of ships and submarines, Bharat Dynamics Ltd has been entrusted with indigenisation of four items for Astra missiles, while BEML Ltd got 12.

Other defence public sector undertakings (DPSU) being involved in the process are Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Goa Shipyard Ltd, Hindustan Shipyard Ltd, Armoured Vehicles Nigam Ltd and Munitions India Limited (MIL).

"In continuous pursuit of self-reliance in defence manufacturing and to minimise imports by DPSUs under 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat', Ministry of Defence has approved another list of 107 strategically important Line Replacement Units (LRUs)/sub-systems with a timeline beyond which there will be an embargo on their import," the ministry said on Thursday.

It said the identified items will be indigenised and will only be procured from the Indian industry after the timelines indicated against each of them in the list.

The ministry said the indigenisation of these items will be taken up by the DPSUs under the 'Make' category.

The 'Make' Category aims to achieve self-reliance by involving greater participation in Indian industry.

The DPSUs will offer these identified LRUs/Sub-systems for industry-led design and development.

"This will be a great opportunity for the Indian industry to get integrated in the supply chains of manufacturing major defence platforms, the defence ministry said in a statement.

It said the indigenous development of these LRUs/Sub-systems projects will bolster the economy and reduce the import dependence of DPSUs. "In addition, it will help harness the design capabilities of the domestic defence industry and position India as a design leader in these technologies," the ministry said.

"This list is in continuation to the positive indigenisation list of 2,851 sub-systems/assemblies/sub-assemblies/components which had been earlier notified by Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence on December 27, 2021," it said.

In August 2020, the ministry announced that India will stop the import of 101 weapons and military platforms like transport aircraft, light combat helicopters, conventional submarines, cruise missiles and sonar systems by 2024.

A second list, putting import restrictions on 108 military weapons and systems such as next-generation corvettes, airborne early warning systems, tank engines and radars, was issued in May last year.

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

In May 2020, the government announced increasing the FDI limit from 49 per cent to 74 per cent under the automatic route in the defence sector.

India 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 100 crores) in capital procurement in 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 that included an export target of USD 5 billion (Rs 35,000 crore) worth of military hardware.

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