DELHI: India’s defense minister announced on Thursday that the country is increasing indigenous production of complicated military equipment.
More than half of the South Asian country’s arms are supplied by Russia.
With the world’s second-largest army, fourth-largest air force, and seventh-largest navy, India has been heavily reliant on arms imports for decades, particularly from Russia, which provided 80 percent of India’s defense equipment in the 1990s.
With the advent of US and European suppliers into the Indian market in the 2000s, one-source dependence decreased dramatically, but Moscow remains an important participant in the industry, supplying an estimated 55 percent of India’s military gear.
Since late February, international sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine have raised concerns about future imports.
“Our main goal in defense is to foster self-reliance and export,” Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said as he unveiled a list of military equipment that will be manufactured in the country.
Complex defensive systems, tanks, sensors, rockets, multi-role helicopters, patrol vessels, anti-ship missiles, anti-radiation missiles, and other war equipment utilized by the Indian Armed Forces are among the 101 items on the list, which Singh said “were previously only imported.”
Weapons and platforms on the list will be bought from local sources during the next five years, according to the Ministry of Defense. The orders are expected to be valued more than $38 billion, according to the report.
For the past few years, India has been seeking to reduce its reliance on a single source for military supplies.
“The large procurement of Western platforms in the last five-seven years has diluted or cut down the dominance of Russian weaponry in the Indian defense market,” Nandan Unnikrishnan, distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, told Arab News.
He went on to say that indigenization of production was also a factor.
Since May of last year, India’s Defense Ministry has identified a “positive indigenization list” of over 300 military goods. So far, the most expensive and intricate equipment is on the most recent list.
According to the government’s budget for 2022-23, 68 percent of India’s capital defense procurement will go to domestic manufacturers.