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Defence Ministry working on second list of weapons that will be banned from import

NEW DELHI (PTI): The Defence Ministry has started work on bringing out by December this year a second list of military platforms and weapons which will be banned from import under a staggered timeline to encourage their domestic production, officials said on Wednesday.

The Ministry has already started preliminary discussions with major stakeholders like the defence public sector undertakings, private industries, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the three services on the second negative arms import list, they said.

On August 9, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had announced that India will stop the import of 101 weapons and military platforms like transport aircraft, light combat helicopters, conventional submarines, cruise missiles and sonar systems by 2024.

Subsequently, the Defence Ministry released the first list of items, with a detailed timeline.

"We are working on bringing out the second negative arms import list by end of December," said a senior official.

The Defence Minister has already outlined the broad contours of the government's roadmap for making India a hub for defence manufacturing.

India is one of the largest importers of arms globally. According to estimates, the Indian armed forces are projected to spend around US$ 130 billion in capital procurement in the next five years.

The Defence Ministry has set a goal of a turnover of US$ 25 billion (Rs 1.75 lakh crore) in defence manufacturing in the next five years that included an export target of USD 5 billion (Rs 35,000 crore) worth of military hardware.

As part of efforts to promote the domestic defence industry, the Ministry has bifurcated the capital procurement budget for 2020-21 between domestic and foreign capital procurement routes.

A separate budget head has been created with an outlay of nearly Rs 52,000 crore for domestic capital procurement in the current financial year.

In sync with the government's initiative, the DRDO on Monday identified 108 military systems and subsystems like navigation radars, tank transporters and missile canisters for the domestic industry to design, develop and manufacture.

The DRDO said it will also provide support to industries for design, development and testing of these systems on a requirement basis.

The premier institute has set a target of next year in developing the 108 systems and subsystems.

The first list of 101 items banned from import included towed artillery guns, short-range surface to air missiles, cruise missiles, offshore patrol vessels, electronic warfare systems, next-generation missile vessels, floating dock, anti-submarine rocket launchers and short-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

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