Just a week after a Sweden-based think tank reported India was the largest global importer of weapons during 2017-21, the Ministry of Defence on Tuesday decided that requirements of modernising the armed forces would be sourced indigenously and imports would be allowed only as an exception. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC).

Approval to another satellite for forces

To allow imports only as exception
Nod to Rs8,357-cr capital acquisition proposals
Another satellite (GSAT 7B) okayed for forces
Rs380.43-cr procurements from start-ups, MSMEs

The DAC, chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, is the apex decision-making body of the MoD. Though the existing policy mandates an explicit okay from the DAC and the Cabinet Committee on Security for imports, the decision today made self-reliance as the key policy direction.

The DAC accorded the “acceptance of necessity” for a new satellite for the forces called GSAT 7B. This is among the capital acquisition proposals worth Rs 8,357 crore cleared by the DAC.

Last November, the DAC approved a proposal of the Indian Air Force to get the GSAT-7C satellite with ground hubs for real-time connectivity. All proposals cleared today are under “Buy (Indian IDDM)” category with focus on indigenous design and development and manufacturing in India.

Besides the satellite, the DAC okayed night sights, light vehicles and an air defence fire control radar. It also approved procurements worth Rs 380.43 crore to be sourced from start-ups and MSMEs.

On March 14, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released a report saying India was the largest importer, accounting for 11 per cent of weapon imports during 2017-2021.