Issue Brief on “Defence Indigenisation in India: Recent Trends and Challenges”

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Recently, India has been working to enhance defence indigenisation through increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) and private-foreign companies’ partnerships. Whether India wants to strengthen its national defence through indigenisation or increase its prestige and power projection regionally and globally?

India’s defence budget was estimated at US$71.9 billion in 2022-23, making it the third largest military spender in the world. India had been the largest arms importer between 2017-2021.[1] India depends on imports for 70 per cent of its defence requirements, with 90 per cent of its defence imports coming in from Russia, Israel, the US and France. This led to restricted defence trading with few selective partners.[2] Israel’s 50 per cent of weapons exports to India, makes Israel the third largest arms exporter to India.[3] It should be noted here that India depends on Russia for 60 per cent of its defence equipment.[4] It’s unlikely that India can reduce its dependence on these exporters as soon as India’s National Security Advisory Board implied, “weapon systems are not soap and shampoo.”[5] Even the Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) that are responsible for about 30 per cent of defence manufacturing in India heavily rely on large import content at different systems and sub-systems levels.

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