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India bans import of 3.5t rupees defence items in buy-local push

[MUMBAI] India will stop importing more than 100 items used by its armed forces in a bid to boost local manufacturing.

The ban will be implemented gradually, starting with products like sniper rifles and light-combat helicopters in December 2020 and long range land-attack cruise missiles in December 2025, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement on Sunday.

Similar items worth 3.5 trillion rupees (S$64.5 billion) were imported between April 2015 and August 2020 and it is estimated that contracts worth almost four trillion rupees will be placed with domestic manufacturers within the next seven years, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in a series of tweets.

Faced with disruptions to raw material supplies from China because of the coronavirus pandemic, millions of job losses following a nationwide lockdown, and a severe erosion of public revenue as economic growth slumps, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ratcheted up calls to boost local manufacturing and reduce reliance on imports.

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