Import ban on specific weapons can be lifted for urgent needs: MoD
The Defence Indigenisation Committee has been empowered to clear cases arising out of technical complications such as Indian players not responding to specific military tenders. It will oversee the implementation of the positive indigenisation list (items under an import ban) and provide further thrust to the indigenous development of military hardware.
The defence ministry will allow the armed forces to import weapons and systems that figure on the government’s list of defence items under an import ban if the domestic industry can’t supply the military hardware within the stipulated time-frame and in the required quantity, according to a government note on the matter.
The note, issued by the department of military affairs (DMA) last month, said specific cases for weapon import to meet immediate requirements could also be taken up if inadequacies in indigenous equipment could put soldiers in harm’s way.
The approval for such specific cases of import will be based on the recommendations of a new empowered monitoring panel, the Defence Indigenisation Committee (DIC), being set up under chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat who also holds the charge of secretary, DMA. HT has reviewed the note.
Experts said the move was aimed at keeping the armed forces operationally ready to take on any challenge. “It’s the right step because developing technology and building capability to produce modern weapons and systems locally can take time. In the interim, we may have to import to offset our inadequacies,” said former Northern Army commander Lieutenant General BS Jaswal (retd).
DIC has also been empowered to clear cases arising out of technical complications such as Indian players not responding to specific military tenders. It will oversee the implementation of the positive indigenisation list (items under an import ban) and provide further thrust to the indigenous development of military hardware.
“The committee besides formulation of positive indigenisation lists will, inter alia, be responsible for reviewing progress of listed equipment, platforms and weapons, and to apply correctives where required so as to ensure that the listed items translate into production/ developmental orders,” the note added.
The government is encouraging self-reliance is the defence manufacturing sector through several policy decisions including notifying 209 defence items that cannot be imported, increasing foreign direct investment limit from 49% to 74% and creating a separate budget for locally-made military hardware.
The ban on the 209 items, to be implemented progressively till 2025, covers artillery guns, missile destroyers, ship-borne cruise missiles, light combat aircraft, long-range land attack cruise missiles, basic trainer aircraft, and different types of helicopters.