India on 31st May 2021 notified the second defence negative import list
, which is now the ‘Positive Indigenization List’ of 108 items. This list includes light helicopters with single engines, mini-UAV for surveillance and anti-rifles, next-generation Corvettes, Airborne Early Warning and Control systems, and many others. While the government came out with a list of 101 negative import lists in August 2020, this is the 2nd list issued by the government now.
This negative import list details all the military equipment
which the government will not import in the future and therefore it is a boost for domestic industries. The cut-off date or deadline is December 2021, for 49 out of 108 items specified in the 2nd list. The major items on the list include mission systems for Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems, the light-medium, and heavy combat armored vehicles for the infantry, single-engine land variant helicopter weighing less than 3.5 T, and helicopter launched anti-tank guided missiles.
Industry sources, while welcoming the initiative, stated that most items are manufactured in India already - the ones mentioned in the list and most of the systems are not being imported in years, now. This includes the corvettes and single-engine light helicopters among the others.
Jayant D Patil, President, Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), said “The second Positive Indigenisation List is another testament of the confidence placed by the Government and the Armed Forces on the Industry to deliver cutting-edge Defence Technology for India’s security requirements”.
Furthermore, the Defence Ministry in one of its statements said that the second list mostly focuses on systems or weapons which are at present are under development/trials and are most probable to translate into firm orders in the coming days.
“Not only does the list recognize the potential of the local defence industry, but it will also invigorate impetus to domestic Research & Development by attracting fresh investment into technology and manufacturing capabilities,” it said.
It further added that this second list has been prepared by the defence ministry after several rounds of consultations with government and private manufacturing industry confederations to assess if future capabilities of the Indian industry will be able to meet the requirements of the armed forces. Industry sources stated that they are anticipating some of the projects in the pipeline to be added to the third list whenever it is out.
“Most of the items on the list are already manufactured in India. But the good thing is that more and more items are being added to the list. It is important because it is an assurance of orders,” a source who did not wish to be identified said. He also stated that it will facilitate both the armed forces as well as the industry to build confidence in each other.