The government on Friday denied it was considering any proposal to allow 100% foreign direct investment in the defence sector immediately, saying such a big decision would not be taken in haste.
A section of media reported that the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, had proposed opening up the defence sector completely.
“Lots of suggestions are being made, but no such proposal is under consideration,” commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman told HT. Another senior cabinet minister said such a crucial decision cannot be taken in one go and it has to pass through a gradual process of first “increasing the FDI cap from its existing limit of 26% to 49% or may be 51%”. But that would also require a decision at the level of the government.
Government sources say FDI was not just about bringing money, but would also require transfer of technology, which needs to be properly debated.
Meanwhile, the RSS came out in favour of opening up the sector. In Nagpur, RSS joint general secretary Krishna Gopal said, “Why should the country depend on importing defence equipment when it can manufacture it?”