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NEW DELHI : India has exported defence equipment worth 8,434.84 crore in 2020-21 compared to 1,940.64 crore in 2014-15, the ministry of defence (MoD) said in answer to a question in Parliament on Monday.

The steps taken by the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to boost defence exports include rescinding a section of the Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies (SCOMET) list that will allow easier exports, opening of an online portal for receiving and processing export authorization permission, allowing the legitimate export of parts and components of small arms and body armour for civil use after prior consultation with the foreign ministry, and delegating powers to defence public sector units to explore opportunities for export and participation in global tenders.

Some of the other measures are the creation of a separate office in the department of defence production to co-ordinate and follow up on export related action, including enquiries received from various countries, sharing leads with private and public sector companies, and facilitating exports and a scheme to provide financial support to defence attaches for taking up actions for promoting exports of India-made defence products both of public and private sector in the countries to which they are attached, the ministry said.

India is one of the major arms importing countries in the world. The prime minister has urged Indian companies to take on production of military hardware to reduce India’s dependence on foreign-sourced arms and armaments. Last year, he set Indian companies a target of $5 billion in exports by 2025.

Among steps taken by the government to boost domestic hardware production was the revision of the 2016 Defence Procurement Policy into the Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020, the ministry said in response to another question in Parliament.

“In order to promote indigenous design and development of defence equipment, the ‘Buy Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured’ category has been accorded top most priority for procurement of capital equipment," it said.

“The ministry of defence has notified two ‘positive indigenization lists’ of a total of 209 items for which there would be an embargo on import beyond the timeline indicated against them. This is a big step towards self-reliance in defence," the ministry said.

“This would offer a great opportunity to the Indian defence industry to manufacture these items using their own design and development capabilities to meet the requirements of the armed forces," the government said.

Other steps taken by the government include enhancing foreign direct investment (FDI) in the defence sector up to 74% through the automatic route for companies seeking new defence industrial licence and up to 100% by government route wherever it is likely to result in access to modern technology or for other reasons to be recorded, it said.

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