The Indian government's Atamanirbhar Bharat initiative and other reforms to encourage indigenous design, development, and manufacture of defence equipment have resulted in a significant reduction in the country's imports of defence products.
Indigenous Defence Projects
Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt revealed that many significant projects including 155mm Artillery Gun system ‘Dhanush’, Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’, Surface to Air Missile system ‘Akash’, Main Battle Tank ‘Arjun’, T-90 Tank, T-72 Tank, Armoured Personnel Carrier ‘BMP-II/IIK’, Su-30 MK1, Cheetah Helicopter, Advanced Light Helicopter, Dornier Do-228, High Mobility Trucks, INS Kalvari, INS Khanderi, INS Chennai, Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvette (ASWC), Arjun Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle, Bridge Laying Tank, Bi-Modular Charge System (BMCS) for 155mm Ammunition, Medium Bullet Proof Vehicle (MBPV), Weapon Locating Radar (WLR), Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS), Software Defined Radios (SDR), Lakshya Parachute for Pilotless Target Aircraft, Opto Electronic Sights for Battle Tanks, Water Jet Fast Attack Craft, Inshore Patrol Vessel, Offshore Patrol Vessel, Fast Interceptor Boat, Landing Craft Utility, 25 T Tugs, etc. have been produced in the country during the last few years.
Result Of Government Initiatives
These projects are the result of several policy initiatives and reforms taken by Government in the past few years to encourage indigenous design, development and manufacture of defence equipment, there by promoting self-reliance in defence manufacturing in the country.
These initiatives, inter-alia, include according priority to procurement of capital items from domestic sources under Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP)-2020; Notification of four ‘Positive Indigenisation Lists’ of total 411 items of Services and three ‘Positive Indigenisation Lists’ of total 3738 items of Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timelines indicated against them, Simplification of Industrial licensing process with longer validity period, Liberalisation of Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) policy allowing 74% FDI under automatic route, Simplification of Make Procedure; Launch of Mission DefSpace; Launch of Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) scheme involving start-ups & Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs); Implementation of Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) Order 2017; Launch of an indigenisation portal namely SRIJAN to facilitate indigenisation by Indian Industry including MSMEs; Reforms in Offset policy with thrust on attracting investment and Transfer of Technology for Defence manufacturing by assigning higher multipliers; and Establishment of two Defence Industrial Corridors, one each in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu; Opening up of Defence Research & Development (R&D) for industry, start-ups and academia with 25 percent of defence R&D budget; Progressive increase in allocation of Defence Budget of military modernisation for procurement from domestic sources, etc.
These policy initiatives aimed at encouraging indigenous design, development and manufacture of defence equipment in the country, thereby reducing dependency on imports in long run. The expenditure on defence procurement from foreign sources has reduced from 46% of overall expenditure in 2018-19 to 36.7% as per data till December 2022.
Disclaimer: This information was given by Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt in a written reply to Vijay Pal Singh Tomar in Rajya Sabha today.