Second list of defence systems to be procured only from Indian manufacturers released

Published : June 01, 2021 15:13 IST

Engines for the T-72 main battle tank engines are part of the 108 items on the second ‘positive indigenisation list’. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt / The Hindu

In a significant move aimed at strengthening indigenisation in the defence sector, the Defence Ministry notified on May 31 the second negative import list of 108 items that can now be purchased only from indigenous sources. With this, the total number of items on the list - now renamed as the ‘positive indigenisation list’ - goes up to 209, from 101 since the first list was notified in August 2020.

The latest ‘buy Indian only’ guidelines will be implemented in a phased manner, with restrictions on 49 of the 108 items taking effect from December 2021. Another 21 items will be placed in the positive indigenisation list with effect from December 2022, 17 items December 2023, 13 items December 2024 and a further eight items from December 2025.

Among the items on the list are single-engine helicopters with an all-up weight of 3.5 tonnes or less, next generation corvettes, helicopter-launched anti-tank guided missiles, mission system for airborne early warning and control systems, shipborne surface surveillance radar, armoured repair and recovery vehicles, multi-functional display system for indigenously manufactured aircraft, drop tanks for Jaguar and Mirage fighter aircraft, medium range surface to air missile systems, engines for the T-72 main battle tank engines, mountain weapon locating radars, upgraded integrated air command and control system, fixed wing mini surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles, and so on. These items are expected to fulfil the requirements of all three branches of the armed forces.

The Narendra Modi government hopes that the move will boost indigenisation, fueling active participation of public and private sector entities, and thus fulfil the twin objectives of achieving self-reliance and promoting defence exports. The indigenous content, in products such as the Tejas Light Combat aircraft, helicopters from HAL and other weapon systems currently being developed, will go up substantially.

Said a statement from the Ministry: “The second list lays special focus on weapons and systems which are currently under development/trials and are likely to translate into firm orders in the future. Like the first list, import substitution of ammunition which is a recurring requirement has been given special focus. Not only does the list recognise the potential of local defence industry, but it will also invigorate impetus to domestic research and development by attracting fresh investment into technology and manufacturing capabilities.”

According to the statement, the list was prepared after several rounds of consultations between the government and private manufacturing industry confederations, wherein the future capabilities of Indian industry were assessed threadbare.

“This list also provides an excellent opportunity for ‘start-ups’ as also Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)”, the Ministry said.