In a bid to provide major fillip to the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ – self-reliance campaign for the domestic defence ecosystem and also for boosting India’s military capabilities, the government today notified the ‘Second Positive Indigenisation List’ of 108 defence items that cannot be imported. Last year in August, the government had notified a negative import list that sought to ban the import of 101 types of weapons, systems and ammunition over the next five years to promote self-reliance. Notably, In February this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it may be described as a negative list, but it is a positive list in the language of self-reliance.
Approving the proposal of the Department of Military Affairs, Ministry of Defence (MoD), Defence Minister Rajnath Singh opined that it would give further boost to indigenisation with the active participation of public and private sector for fulfilling the twin objectives of achieving self-reliance and promoting defence exports. All the 108 items will now be procured from indigenous sources as per provisions given in the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020.
The second list lays special emphasis on weapons/systems which are currently under development/trials and are likely to translate into firm orders in the near future. Like the first list, import substitution of ammunition which is a recurring requirement, has been given special focus. Not only does the list recognise the potential of the local defence industry, it also provides an impetus to domestic Research & Development by attracting fresh investments into technology and manufacturing capabilities.
Providing details of the list the official statement says it comprises complex systems, sensors, simulators, weapon platforms and ammunition to include Helicopters, next generation Corvettes, Air Borne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) Systems, Tank engines, Medium Power Radar for mountains, MRSAM weapon systems and many more such items to fulfil the requirements of Indian Armed Forces. This list is planned to be implemented progressively with effect from December 2021 to December 2025.
This second list has been prepared by MoD after several rounds of consultations with government and private industry confederations to assess future capabilities of Indian industry and its ability to meet requirements of the Armed Forces. The list provides continuous impetus towards self-reliance in defence and provides a golden opportunity to build robust Research and Development facilities, capacities and capabilities to meet the futuristic battlefield environment. The list also provides an excellent opportunity for ‘start-ups’ as also MSMEs, which will get a tremendous boost from this initiative.
Towards this, the Ministry of Defence, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Service Head Quarters will take all necessary steps, including handholding of the industry, to ensure that the timelines mentioned in the ‘Second Positive Indigenisation List’ are met, thereby facilitating an environment for Indian defence manufacturers to create world-class infrastructure, assist in Government’s ‘Make in India’ vision to make India self-reliant in defence. It will also boost our capability to export defence equipment.
India has set aside Rs. 70,000 crore or 64 per cent of the military’s capital budget for buying locally-produced weapons and systems to boost defence indigenisation in the financial year 2021-22. Last year, the Ministry of Defence spent over Rs. 51,000 crore, or 58 per cent of the capital budget, on domestic purchases.