India’s arms import embargo hits makers in Russia, US and Israel

India’s Defence Ministry has announced that it will cease imports of over 100 items for the Indian armed forces worth $47 billion. The move will affect purchases from major arms suppliers such as the U.S., Russia and Israel worth billions of dollars in the coming years, if the country achieves targeted domestic production.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India was the world’s second-largest importer of arms in the 2014-19 period, after Saudi Arabia. During the period, India bought $16.7 billion, 9.7% of the world total. Russia supplied 55% of India’s imports, while the U.S. and Israel made up 14% and 12% of the total, respectively.

India’s Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on Aug. 9 tweeted that his ministry “has prepared a list of 101 items for which there would be an embargo on the import,” and hoped the move will be “a big step toward self-reliance in defense.”

Singh stated that the embargo is being progressively implemented between 2020 and 2024. In another statement, he said the government intends domestic arms manufacturers to reach an annual turnover of $25 billion, and expects to export $5 billion worth.

“The defense equipment we buy from Russia and Israel will decrease,” A. K. Siwach, a retired major general and defense analyst, told the Nikkei Asian Review. “There are many things like artillery, helicopters, etc., we buy from them which will be produced locally at a cheaper price.”

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