Modi wants to cure India’s ‘addiction’ to foreign arms — Analysis

India seeks to construct a new, entirely different India “defense ecosystem,”Prime Minister NarendraModi, speaking at a forum for military innovation on Monday said that the country would significantly reduce dependence on foreign arms supplies and become an important exporter of modern weapons.

“We developed the habit of being dependent on foreign countries for even the simplest products. Like drug addicts, we were addicted to the products imported from abroad,” Modi said as cited by ANI news agency.

Modi addressed a seminar organised by the Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organizations (NIIO), and the Society of Indian Defense Manufacturerss (SIDM). He stated that his government had embarked upon a “mission”To “change this mindset” back in 2014, and has since not only increased India’s defense budget, but made sure that a significant part of it is diverted towards “the development of the defense manufacturing ecosystem in the country itself.”

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“Today, a large part of the budget earmarked for the purchase of defense equipment is being spent on procurement from Indian companies,”He stated. “In the last four-five years, our defense imports have come down by about 21 per cent. Today we are moving fast from the biggest defense importer to a big exporter.”

Modi praised the Indian Navy’s self-reliance and said so while praising it. “goal should be to take India’s defense to unprecedented heights by the time we celebrate 100 years of Independence.”

“As India is establishing itself on the global stage, there are constant attacks through misinformation, disinformation and false publicity,”He added that “national defense is no longer limited to borders, but is much broader.”

US wants to lure India away from Russia – Bloomberg

Despite New Delhi’s policy of decreasing its dependence on foreign supplies by developing the domestic defense sector and diversifying arms imports, Moscow remains its key partner, meeting almost half of the needs in the last five years. Russia is a long-standing supplier of arms to India. This includes the complex weapon systems such as fighter jets, attack submarines, and other sophisticated weapons. Russia has been New Delhi’s largest seller of weaponry since the early 2000s. France came in second last year. 

The UK, Israel, the US and the UK also figure among these major suppliers. Earlier this year, the US government allegedly sought to woo India into slowing down its defense cooperation with Russia by offering New Delhi a military assistance package that could be worth as much as  $500 million, according to Bloomberg. Washington refused to place sanctions on India in response to its purchase of advanced Russian S-400 anti-air defense systems. It contrasted this with the treatment it gave to China and NATO ally Turkey for purchasing similar weapons.

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