The Indian armed forces will now be able to import defence equipment in certain circumstances even if it figures in the negative import list. This includes scenarios where there is an “immediate requirement” that domestic industry cannot cater to, or if the safety of soldiers is at stake due to inadequacies in an indigenous product.
There is also a provision now to review or remove items mentioned in the negative import list, which was first formulated in August 2020.
The defence ministry issued a notification last month saying that an empowered monitoring committee, the Defence Indigenisation Committee (DIC), would be constituted. This committee will oversee the implementation of the negative list, now known as the ‘Positive Indigenisation List’, and give further thrust to indigenous development.
The DIC will be chaired by General Bipin Rawat, secretary, Department of Military Affairs and Chief of Defence Staff.
The notification said that the Indian industry is expected to invest in research and development to ensure that items placed in the indigenous list would be upgraded to keep pace with global technological advancements.
Failing this, “the specific items could be recommended to Defence Indigenisation Committee for review/ removal from the List,” the notification said.
It added that specific cases for import could be taken up in certain circumstances based on the committee’s recommendation.
This would include scenarios where the domestic industry was unable to supply equipment in the stipulated time frame or quantity, “or where there are inadequacies in the equipment affecting the safety of troops, or in case of any other technical issues such as no valid response to RFP (Request for Proposal) etc,” the notification said.