The Ministry of Defence today approved another list that progressively bans imports of 107 sub-systems, components or “line replacement units (LRUs)” of major weapon systems and platforms between December 2022 and December 2028 from different countries to India. Many of the LRUs identified are for Russian-origin hardware like T-90S and T-72 main battle tanks, BMP infantry combat vehicles, Konkurs-M anti-tank guided missiles, warships and submarines.
“These LRUs will be indigenised in the coming years. They will only be procured from the Indian industry after the timelines indicated against each of them in the list,” an MoD official said.
The new list adds to a similar ban on 351 sub-systems and components, announced in December 2021, which will have to be indigenized over the next three years to boost self-reliance in defence manufacturing and minimise imports by defence PSUs. India has indigenised about 2,500 other components already.
The MoD had in August 2020 and May 2021 announced two negative arms imports or “positive indigenisation” lists that progressively ban imports of 209 weapon systems, platforms and ammunition for the armed forces in the 2020-2025 timeframe.
These measures are significant in the face of the US-led western countries slapping wide-ranging sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. India is faced with the challenge of maintaining high operational military readiness because almost 70% of its defence hardware and software is of Soviet or Russian-origin, which require a regular supply of spares as well as maintenance.
Though India has increasingly turned to other countries like the US, Israel and France for its arms imports over the last two decades, de-coupling from Russian-origin systems as well as building a robust defence-industrial base will take several years.
The MoD official said the defence PSUs would take up indigenisation of the 107 LRUs under the ‘Make in India’ category by involving the private industry. “This will be a great opportunity for the Indian industry to get integrated in the supply chains of manufacturing major defence platforms,” he said.
“The indigenous development of these LRUs/Sub-systems projects will bolster the economy and reduce the import dependence of DPSUs. In addition, it will help harness the design capabilities of the domestic defence industry and position India as a design leader in these technologies,” he added.