NEW DELHI: The list of 351 items that face import curbs from December 2022 is the third such list issued by the defence ministry in 16 months as part of efforts to make India a hub for developing and manufacturing military hardware.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh tweeted that a positive indigenisation list of sub-systems & components has been notified by the Department of Defence Production as part of the MoD’s efforts to achieve self-reliance in defence manufacturing.

The defence ministry on Wednesday announced curbs on the import of 351 systems and components under a staggered timeframe beginning December 2022 to boost indigenisation in defence manufacturing and to ensure foreign exchange savings of ₹3,000 crore a year.

This was the third such list issued by the defence ministry in the past 16 months as part of efforts to make India a hub for developing and manufacturing military hardware. The ministry issued a separate list of 2,500 imported items that it said had already been indigenised.

The curbs on the import of 351 items – including components such as a missile approach warning sensor, shells, propellants, electrical parts, missile containers, a torpedo tube launcher and a gun fire control system – will kick in over the next three years.

The import of 172 systems and components will be stopped from December 2022, while curbs on another batch of 89 items will come into effect from December 2023. The import of a further 90 items will be stopped from December 2024. Once the restrictions take effect, these items can be procured only from Indian industries.

“A positive indigenisation list of sub-systems/assemblies/sub-assemblies/components has been notified by Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence, as part of the efforts to achieve self-reliance in defence manufacturing and minimise imports by Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs),” an official statement said.

“This Aatmanirbhar (self-reliance) initiative will save foreign exchange approximately equivalent to ₹3,000 cr every year,” it added.

The defence ministry announced in August 2020 that India will stop importing 101 weapons and military platforms such as transport aircraft, light combat helicopters, conventional submarines, cruise missiles and sonar systems by 2024.

A second list issued in May this year restricted the import of 108 more weapons and systems such as airborne early warning systems, tank engines, radars and next-generation corvettes.

These measures are in addition to other steps taken by the government to boost defence manufacturing. In May 2020, the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit under the automatic route in the defence sector was hiked from 49% to 74%.

In October, the government dissolved the four-decade-old Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and amalgamated 41 factories under seven new state-owned companies to manufacture defence hardware ranging from munitions to heavy weapons and vehicles.

India is among the world’s largest arms importers, and the armed forces are expected to spend about $130 billion on defence purchases over the next five years. The government plans to reduce dependence on imported hardware and is backing domestic manufacturers to produce weapons and platforms that can be used by the Indian military and exported to other countries.

The defence ministry has set a target for a turnover of $25 billion in defence manufacturing in the next five years, including exports worth $5 billion.