On 8 August 2020, the Defence Minister announced an embargo on the import of over 100 defence weapons and platforms. This decision has been taken to provide an opportunity for the Indian Defence Industry, both public and private, to manufacture these items using their R&D or in collaboration with DRDO. This list has reportedly been prepared by the Department of Military Affairs after extensive consultation with all stakeholders, including the three Services.
Significantly, this embargo covers not only low-tech components/machinery but also a significant number of complex platforms and high technology weapons and associated equipment. By doing this, the Government has provided an unprecedented opportunity for local entities to confidently step up their efforts to develop, produce and sustain products for the Indian defence market. Moreover, with defence exports gaining greater salience for national economic growth, the Indian defence industry has been offered a whole new world of opportunities.
Getting back to the list itself, even a cursory glance at the items suggests that the Indian Navy has taken on the lion’s share. Shipborne cruise missiles, anti-missile systems, multiple types of vessels including destroyers, corvettes, missile vessels, anti-submarine crafts as well as most of the high-end technologies required by these platforms – all have been incorporated in the ‘Atmanirbhar’ list. What does this imply for the Navy and the Defence Industry?