Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday took a swipe at Rajnath Singh, saying the defence minister promised a “bang” but ended with a “whimper”. This came after Singh announced that the Centre will impose an import embargo on 101 military items.
Earlier in the day, Singh had said the ban will promote indigenisation in the defence sector. This falls in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to make the Indian economy self-reliant amid the coronavirus crisis.
Taking a dig at Singh, Chidambaram said that the defence ministry is the only importer of military equipment, adding that any embargo was an embargo on oneself. “What the defence minister said in his historic Sunday announcement deserved only an office order from the minister to his secretaries!” the senior Congress leader said in a series of tweets.
“Import embargo is high sounding jargon,” Chidambaram tweeted. “What it means is we will try to make the same equipment (that we import today) in 2 to 4 years and stop imports thereafter!”
Singh said that the items embargoed for import will include artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircraft and radars, according to ANI.
The defence minister said the list of items to be embargoed for import has been made after several rounds of talks with the armed forces and industries. “Almost 260 schemes of such items were contracted by the Tri-Services at an approximate cost of Rs 3.5 lakh crore between April 2015 and August 2020,” Singh said in a series of tweets. “It is estimated that contracts worth almost Rs 4 lakh crore will be placed upon the domestic industry within the next 6 to 7 years.”
Singh also said that the government will continue to identify more equipment for import embargo.