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Striving for India to Stop Importing Equipment to Enhance Its Combat Preparedness

© AP Photo / Gurinder OsanAn Indian Army Bhishma tank, the locally assembled version of the T-90S tank, rolls in front of vehicle mounted Brahmos missiles during Army Day parade in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009.
An Indian Army Bhishma tank, the locally assembled version of the T-90S tank, rolls in front of vehicle mounted Brahmos missiles during Army Day parade in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009. - Sputnik India, 1920, 09.05.2024
With India's Ministry of Defense (MoD) making self-reliance in military hardware its top priority, the country's Army announced a significant move in this direction this week.
On Wednesday, the chief of the Indian Army's procurement division, Major General V. K. Sharma, announced that the South Asian nation's territorial force will not import ammunition from abroad, beginning from the next financial year.
"In the next financial year (2025-26), we will not have any import of ammunition, other than in cases where the quantity is too low and it is not economical for the industry to manufacture them," Sharma said in a statement.
India - the world's largest importer of arms, procures approximately 175 types of ammunition. However, as the world's largest democratic state's domestic defense industry has grown in the last decade under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it has found indigenous options for at least 150 of these items.
As per a report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in March 2024, India occupied the top position among the largest importers of military items from 2019-23 globally.
"Nine of the 10 biggest arms importers in 2019–23, including the top 3 of India, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, were in Asia and Oceania or the Middle East. Ukraine became the fourth biggest arms importer globally after it received transfers of major arms from over 30 states in 2022-23," SIPRI said in its annual study.

India's Recent Military Imports

Among the major imports the Indian Army has made in the last couple of years are combat helicopters, fighter jets, assault rifles, guided rockets, aircraft radars, rockets, missiles, and portable air defense systems amongst others.
These include the high-profile multi-billion deals to acquire the Rafale fighter jets from France, and Chinook, and MH-60 'Romeo' helicopters from the US.
In addition to that, India inked various deals to procure military equipment from Russia. But unlike the agreements with Western nations, most of New Delhi's contracts with long-time strategic partner Moscow feature transfer of technology (ToT) for local production.
Against this backdrop, military veteran Lieutenant-Colonel (Retd) J.S. Sodhi stressed that this announcement by the Indian Army to stop importing ammunition from abroad yet again shows the success of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-Reliant India Program) and the Make in India initiative launched by Prime Minister Modi a decade back.
"This move will greatly enhance India's combat preparedness as a sound domestic manufacturing industry is quintessential in measuring a nation's combat power so that in times of war the nation's reliance on imports for weapons and ammunition is nil/bare minimum," he told Sputnik India on Thursday.
The defense expert underlined that the step is set to boost India's military-industrial complex in a big way.
Sodhi pointed out that the Indian military-industrial complex has moved by leaps and bounds in the last decade due to the tremendous increase in its domestic arms and ammunition manufacturing capacity and capability.
"Both the Government of India and the Indian Armed Forces coupled with the private sector, have played a stellar and supporting role in ensuring the success of India's defense production," he concluded.
Visitors walk past an Indian Brahmos anti-ship missile at the International Maritime Defence show in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, July 11, 2019 - Sputnik India, 1920, 29.04.2024
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