The pace of import of defence products has fallen quite significantly, especially under the Modi regime. On the other hand, India has become a major exporter in the field of defence products today.

New Delhi: The data provided by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) for the period of 2017-21 shows that the US, Russia, France, China and Germany were the largest defence exporters while India and Saudi Arabia are among the largest importers. Though the data do not have many surprises, one interesting development is that today, India is exporting defence products to over 75 countries.

Over the years, the pace of import of defence products has fallen quite significantly, especially under the Modi regime. From being one of the largest importers of arms and platforms, India is now trying to manufacture a lot of equipment under its 'Make-in-India in Defence' mission and have become one of the major exporters of defence products.

For any major economy, it is quite important to be self-reliant on major fronts, especially defence production. The Modi government has ensured that the defence products that could be built in India should be built locally. With the help of technology transfer through partnerships and with indigenization, India has moved ahead in defence production.

Even SIPRI data shows that India has reduced its defence imports quite significantly. It shows that between 2012-16 and 2017-21 Indian arms imports decreased by 21%. However, the data also shows another difficult fact that India is still the largest importer of major arms in 2017-21 as it accounts for 11 percent of total global arms imports.

The Modi government brought in a defence manufacturing policy that focuses on indigenization under which it first notified three 'Positive Indigenisation lists' comprising 310 defence equipment. The government has made sure that these are manufactured locally and some of them are exported as well to the partners.

FDI Relaxation In Defence Manufacturing

The Indian government has liberalised the defence sector to great extent to welcome FDI and technology transfer. One such measure is promoting export and for that it has allowed 74% FDI in defence sector through automatic route and 100% by government route. Needless to say, with 2 defence corridors - one in Uttar Pradesh and another in Tamil Nadu, a range of defence manufacturing units are being set up.

Several innovative platforms are being developed to help innovation in the defence sector. For instance, there is iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence) and DTIS (Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme) which are playing a vital role in the defence sector innovation and incubation.

In one of the major developments, India recently signed a contract for manufacturing C-295 aircraft for the Indian Air Force. This is being done by Tata Advanced Systems Limited in partnership with Airbus Defence and Space S.A. Spain. Last but not the least, the defence exports have grown by eight times in the last five years under the Modi government.