Before celebrating the import embargo on military items, worth checking the results of the defence offsets

On August 9, 2020, under the ambitious Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, the defence ministry (MoD) announced the imposition of an import embargo on 101 military products with a declared intent on boosting national military-industrial capacity. This much-publicised announcement has been cheered by all stakeholders of the Indian defence sector, especially the private manufacturers.

The embargo on imports will be effective in three phases: 69 items (from Water Jet Fast Attack Craft to Field Artillery Tractor (FAT) 6X6 for Medium Guns) by December 2020, 11 items (Wheeled Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) to Conventional Submarines) by December 2021 and the remaining 21 (40mm Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL) to Long Range Land Attack Cruise Missiles) by December 2022.

The includes low to medium technology items like Transportable Radar and Mini Trucks of different sizes to high technology items like Astra Mark I Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missiles (BVRAAMs) and Communication Satellites. It includes both sub-systems as well as complete systems.

The press release by the government lays out the larger intent of the Negative List: ‘……to assess current and future capabilities of the Indian industry for manufacturing various ammunition/weapons/platforms/equipment within India’.

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