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Indigenisation in the defence sector under the Make in India policy has helped the Indian Army significantly cut down its dependence on imports to meet its requirements.

Senior defence officials said the rise of the private sector industry in the field of ammunition has helped the force in a big way to achieve this. The Indian Army has stated that in the next couple of years, it wants to completely stop the import of ammunition other than a few types, which would not be commercially viable to be produced in the country.

“The Indian Army has a budget of around Rs 20,000 crore to acquire ammunition for the existing inventory of weapon systems in the force. Till a few years ago, the force was spending around 35-40 per cent on buying ammunition from abroad.”

Now, that requirement has been cut down to less than 10 per cent, and we are looking to reduce it further in the next couple of years,” defence officials told ANI.

The officials said the ammunition has been indigenised for different types of weapon systems, like tanks, artillery guns, air defence missiles and multiple grenade launcher systems, among others.

The indigenisation of ammunition has not only cut down the import dependency but has also helped the country to expand its export base.

A lot of the global requirement for ammunition is also being met by the indigenous public sector firms along with a significant share of the private sector industry.

The force is also handholding the industry to develop the required ammunition and giving them time to further improve their products.

Some of the industry partners that have helped the Army cut down imports include public sector Munitions India Limited (ex-Ordnance Factory Board firm) and the private sector’s Solar Industries Limited, Adani Defence, Hughes Precision and SMPP Limited.

A number of new firms are also coming up in this field, which would help improve the situation further.

The public sector firm MIL has been receiving huge export orders for artillery shells and the demand in the global arena has helped in the development of new supporting industries around it.The officials said that very high-level precision guided artillery ammunition is also being developed by firms from both the private and public sectors, which would be a big help for the Indian Army’s artillery units.