The Indian government on Sunday said it would impose restrictions on the import of more than 100 items of military equipment to boost its own economy and improve self-sufficiency in the manufacture of weapons.
India’s Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said that the government plans to gradually implement select military imports at least through 2024.
Singh said in a statement that military equipment includes high-technology weapon systems and assault rifles and artillery to aircraft and light combat helicopters.
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Singh wrote on Twitter, “Our objective is to make the Indian defense industry aware of the anticipated requirements of the armed forces so that they are better prepared to realize the goal of indigenization.” “This is a major step towards self-sufficiency in defense.”
In May, India announced that global companies could invest up to 74% to 49% in the country’s defense manufacturing units, without the need for any government approval. It was expected that the new policy would attract foreign companies with high-end technologies to set up their bases in the country in collaboration with local industries.
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The government then announced that India would stop importing weapons in line with the vision to make the Indian economy self-sufficient in the midst of the coronovirus crisis.
India, a major buyer of military equipment, was largely dependent on the former Soviet Union during the Cold War. But it is also diversifying its purchases for American equipment.
During President Trump’s visit in February, the two countries signed an agreement for India to purchase more than $ 3 billion in advanced military equipment, including helicopters.
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The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in a report released in April that India was the world’s third-largest military spending country last year after the US and China.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.