As many as 119 capital procurement proposals worth around Rs 2,15,690 crore were approved in the last three financial years largely to promote the domestic defence industry, the government said on Monday. Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt, replying to a question in Rajya Sabha, said the government has taken a series of measures to support the indigenous development of defence equipment in line with the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) initiative.
“In the last three financial years, from 2018-19 to 2020-2021, the government has accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) to 119 defence proposals worth Rs 2,15,690 crore approximately, under the various categories of capital acquisition, which promotes domestic manufacturing,” he said.
To a separate question, the minister said that capital procurement of defence equipment is undertaken from domestic as well as foreign vendors, based on threat perception, operational challenges and to keep the armed forces in a state of readiness.
“In line with the government of India’s initiative of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, it has been decided to earmark an amount of Rs 71,438.36 crore for domestic capital procurement,” he said.
The government has initiated a series of measures in the last couple of years to encourage the domestic defence industry.
Last August, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced that India will stop the import of 101 weapons and military platforms like transport aircraft, light combat helicopters, conventional submarines, cruise missiles and sonar systems by 2024.
A second negative list, putting import restrictions on 108 military weapons and systems such as next-generation corvettes, airborne early warning systems, tank engines and radars, was issued recently.
In May last year, the government announced increasing the FDI limit from 49 per cent to 74 per cent under the automatic route in the defence sector.
India is one of the largest importers of arms globally. According to estimates, the Indian armed forces are projected to spend around USD 130 billion in capital procurement in the next five years.
The government now wants to reduce the dependence on imported military platforms and has decided to support domestic defence manufacturing.
The defence ministry has set a goal of a turnover of USD 25 billion (Rs 1.75 lakh crore) in defence manufacturing in the next five years that included an export target of USD 5 billion (Rs 35,000 crore) worth of military hardware.