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New Delhi: India is indigenizing production of special high altitude clothing required for Indian soldiers standing guard in mountainous terrain, the defence ministry said in a written statement to parliament on Monday.

The percentage of imported items has reduced from 43% to 29% in the last five years, Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik said in response to a question.

“Tenders aligned with ‘Make in India’ initiative for identifying indigenous sources of supply are regularly being published. Wide publicity through Ministry of Textiles, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and various textile associations is also given for participation by prospective Indian manufacturers," the minister said.

“Further, with a view to encourage Indian industry to manufacture in India, industry outreach programmes are undertaken and long-term contracts have been offered as incentives for assured business," the minister added.

Last year, India procured extreme cold high altitude clothing from vendors in the US and Western Europe after the deployment of large numbers of troops along India’s borders with China. The deployment came after India in May detected a large number Chinese troops across the Line of Actual Control border and some intrusions into Indian territory in Ladakh.

In response to questions from another MP, Naik said on the “basis of the threat perception and technology available, the armed forces are procuring terrain and weather specific equipment to thwart the likely threat from our northern adversary."

“In the current standoff, emergency procurements for certain arms and equipment have been undertaken by the armed forces to beef up their combat potential," the minister said.

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