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Particularly under the Modi administration, there has been a notable decline in the rate of import of defence products. On the other hand, India is now a significant exporter of defense-related goods.

New Delhi: According to data given by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) for the years 2017–21, the US, Russia, France, China, and Germany were the top exporters of defence goods, while India and Saudi Arabia were among the top buyers. The numbers do not include many shocks, but one intriguing trend is that India now exports defence goods to more than 75 nations.

The rate of defence product imports has decreased dramatically over time, particularly under the Modi administration. India used to be one of the biggest importers of weapons and platforms, but as part of its “Make in India in Defense” objective, it is now attempting to produce a lot of equipment and has grown to be a significant exporter of defence goods.

It is crucial for any major economy to be self-sufficient on key fronts, especially when it comes to the production of weapons. The Modi administration has made sure that any defence equipment that may be produced locally in India are. India has advanced its defence manufacturing with the use of collaborations for the transfer of technology and indigenization.

India has dramatically reduced its defence imports, according to SIPRI data. It demonstrates a 21% decline in Indian arms imports during 2012–16 and 2017–21. The data also reveals another unfavourable aspect, namely that India continues to be the world’s top buyer of large guns in 2017–21, accounting for 11% of all international arms imports.

The Modi administration implemented a defence manufacturing strategy that prioritises indigenization, as part of which it initially announced three “Positive Indigenization Lists” that included 310 pieces of defence gear. The government has ensured that some of them are exported to the partners as well as domestically produced.

FDI Relaxation In The Defense Industry

To encourage FDI and knowledge transfer, the Indian government has liberalised the defence industry to a significant degree. One of these measures is encouraging exports, and to that end it has permitted 100% through government route and 74% by automatic route FDI in the defence sector. It goes without saying that a number of defence industrial facilities are being established thanks to the two defence corridors—one in Tamil Nadu and one in Uttar Pradesh.

To support innovation in the defence industry, several cutting-edge platforms are being created. Examples include iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence) and DTIS (Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme), which are essential to the innovation and incubation of the defence sector.

One of the significant events recently was the signing of a contract by India for the production of C-295 aircraft for the Indian Air Force. Tata Advanced Systems Limited is carrying this out in collaboration with Airbus Defence and Space S.A. Spain. Last but not least, the Modi administration has seen an eight-fold increase in defence exports over the past five years.

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