A top Defence Ministry official on Wednesday said that India doesn’t differentiate between foreign and domestic firms but going forward, it will “possibly” not import any defence item.
India was globally the largest importer of major arms in 2017–21 and accounted for 11% of total global arms imports in the period, Stockholm-based defence think-tank SIPRI had stated earlier.
At an occasion of industry body PHDCCI, Sanjay Jaju, Additional Secretary (Defence Production), Ministry of Defence, said, “As long as foreign OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are in India, and as long as they are designing and manufacturing within India, the Indian government is completely equitable.”
Jaju said that he has friends from global OEMs such as Lockheed Martin sitting in India. “It is not a commentary on foreign OEMs because we are ownership agnostic now,” the official said.
The government does not differentiate between foreign OEMs and L&Ts (domestic OEMs) of the world, Jaju further said.
“For us, all of you are equal. All our policies are designed in a manner in which all of you get equal opportunities. But one point that is now coming is that going forward, possibly we will not be importing anything. One can say that at the outset,” he added.
In the last four months, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government has been reviewing all the “Buy-Global” cases that are in the contracting phase right now, Jaju said.
Under “Buy-Global” procurement category, outright purchase of defence items — with no need of subsequent indigenous production — from foreign and Indian vendors is permitted.
Jaju said the Centre has cancelled close to ₹60,000 crore worth of “Buy-Global” cases.
“A little bit of difficult situation for the Lockheeds (foreign OEMs) of the world but I think you can substitute it with a string of projects…to design and develop the systems within our country,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry has signed two contracts worth ₹3,102 crore with the Bengaluru and Hyderabad units of Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).
The Defence Ministry and BEL-Bengaluru concluded a contract for supply of Advanced Electronic Warfare (EW) suite for fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
The overall cost of the contract is estimated to be ₹1,993 crore, Bengaluru-headquartered BEL said in a statement on Wednesday.
With PTI inputs
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