14 March , 2023 Fdiindia
India Still the Largest Arms Importer in the World
India continues to languish in the strategically vulnerable, along with the embarrassing position of being the largest arms importer in the world, accounting for 11% of the total global imports in 2018-2022, despite the government’s continuing thrust on “Make in India” in the production of defence.
The recent data on international arms transfers released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Monday shows Russia as still the biggest weapon supplier to India, with 45% of the total imports in the 2018-2022 timeframe, despite its declining share.
India, which is the world’s third largest military spender after the US and China, has taken a series of steps to achieve “atmanirbharta” (self-reliance) in defence production. These range from the notification of four positive indigenisation lists and an increase in the FDI limit to creating “a favourable environment” for Indian vendors and earmarking a record 75% of the defence capital procurement budget for the domestic industry in 2023-24.
On Monday, junior defence minister Ajay Bhatt told Rajya Sabha that the expenditure on defence procurement from foreign sources has reduced from 46% of the overall spending in 2018-19 to 36.7% as per the data till December 2022, due to various policy initiatives.
However, a lot more clearly needs to be done if India has to meet its oft-repeated ambitious target of achieving a domestic turnover of Rs 1,75,000 crore in the defence and aerospace sector, including exports of Rs 35,000 crore, by 2024-25.
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