India Says Defence Items Worth Rs 1.4 Lakh Crore Bought In 10 Years From New ‘Negative Import List’
A truck transporting a shipping container drives through the Jawaharlal Nehru Port, operated by Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), in Navi Mumbai. (Photographer Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

India Says Defence Items Worth Rs 1.4 Lakh Crore Bought In 10 Years From New ‘Negative Import List’

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Military hardware worth Rs 1.4 lakh crore was bought in the last 10 years from among the items recently identified under the ‘negative import list’ by the defence ministry, the government said on Monday.

Last month, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced that India will stop import of 101 weapons and military platforms like transport aircraft, light combat helicopters, conventional submarines, cruise missiles and sonar systems under a staggered timeline by 2024.

"Items worth Rs 1.4 lakh crore have been bought from the items listed in the Negative Import List during the last 10 years, which includes both imports and from domestic sources," Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik said, replying to a question in Rajya Sabha.

He said import embargo has been issued on 101 defence weapons and platforms to strengthen the domestic defence industry and also to provide impetus to self-reliance in defence manufacturing.

The government has taken a series of measures in the last few months to encourage the domestic defence industry.

In May, the government announced increasing the foreign direct investment limit from 49% to 74% under the automatic route in the defence sector.

To a separate question, Naik said India has received Rs 3,454 crore in foreign direct investment in the defence and aerospace sector till June 2020.

"As per the data furnished by 80 companies in defence and aerospace sector, FDI inflows of over Rs 3,454 crore have been reported so far (i.e. till June, 2020) in defence and aerospace sectors," he said.

"Further, out of this, FDI inflows of over Rs 2,133 crore have been reported in defence and aerospace sector from financial year 2014-15 onwards," he said.

Naik said the government has brought in significant reforms to promote FDI in defence sector and to complement the domestic investment.

"Through FDI, domestic companies are benefited by way of enhanced access to supplementary capital and state-of-art technologies," he said.

Also read: How To Get ‘Atmanirbhar’ In Defence Production

India is one the largest importers of arms globally. According to estimates, the Indian armed forces are projected to spend around $130 billion in capital procurement in the next five years.

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

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

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