New Delhi: After Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced an import embargo on 101 defence items, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram took a dig at him on Sunday and called his announcement a “whimper”.
“The Defence Minister promised a ‘bang’ on a Sunday morning and ended with a ‘whimper’!” Chidambaram said in a statement.
Earlier in the day, Rajnath said: “The Ministry of Defence is now ready for a big push to the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative. The MoD will introduce an import embargo on 101 items beyond the given timeline to boost indigenisation of defence production.”
Chidambaram pointed out that the only importer of defence equipment in India is the Defence Ministry. “Any import embargo is really 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!” he added.
The Congress leader also said that the ‘import embargo’ is “high-sounding jargon”.
“But 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!” the former Finance Minister said.
Rajnath on Sunday announced the ban on import of 101 items to make Indian defence industry self-reliant and boost indigenisation.
The list of 101 embargoed items comprises not just simple parts but also some high technology weapon systems like artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircraft, light combat helicopters, and radars.