India’s government said on Sunday it would ban imports of more than 100 items of military equipment to boost its own economy and improve self-reliance in weapon production.
Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said the government is planning to step by step implement sanctions on selective military imports by at least 2024.
Among the military equipment are high-tech weapon systems, from assault rifles and artillery to transport aircraft and light combat helicopters, Singh said in a statement.
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Singh wrote on Twitter: “Our aim is to encourage the Indian defense industry about the expected requirements of the Armed Forces so that they are better prepared for their denuclearization goal.” . “This is a big step towards self-reliance in defense.”
In May, India announced that global companies could invest up to 74% in its defense manufacturing units, up from 49% without any government approval. The new policy is expected to attract foreign companies with high-end technology based in Vietnam along with local industries.
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The government then announced that India would stop importing weapons that could be domestically produced, in line with its vision of giving the Indian economy autonomy amid the coronavirus crisis.
India, a major buyer of military equipment, relied largely on the former Soviet Union during the Cold War. But they are also diversifying their shopping by opting for American equipment.
During President Trump’s visit in February, the two countries signed an agreement for India to buy more than $ 3 billion in advanced military equipment, including helicopters.
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The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said India was the third largest military spending country in the world last year after the US and China.
Associated Press contributed to this report.