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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Defence Manufacturing Adversely Affected by COVID-19, Indian Minister Says

Sputnik News

13:26 GMT 21.05.2020(updated 18:25 GMT 21.05.2020)

New Delhi (Sputnik): India has been on a prolonged lockdown since 25 March to contain the spread of COVID-19. The entire industrial activities in the country, apart from essential products and the pharmaceutical sector, have come to a complete standstill. The lockdown was partially lifted from 18 May, but with several restrictions.

The defence sector has been more badly affected than many other sectors in India due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday

"Manufacturing sector has been affected the most due to lockdown and disruption in existing supply chains and the defence sector is no exception to this. Rather, it can be said that the defence sector is more aggravated than other sectors as the only buyer of defence products is the government," the minister stated while addressing a conclave jointly organised by his ministry, apex industry body Confederation of Indian Industry and Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers.

Rajnath Singh said, medium, small, micro enterprises have a key role in India's goal of indigenous manufacturing and a self-reliant India. He added that government procurements of US $26.5 million would be sourced only from Indian manufacturers.

The minister appreciated the role of defence manufacturers in India, who have accelerated production of personal protective equipment designed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). "Within less than two months, we have not only met our domestic demand, but we can also think of helping neighbouring countries," said Singh.

India has 63.3 million medium, small and micro enterprises and about 8,000 of them are partners with state-run defence manufacturing units, contributing more than 20 percent of the total production of these organisations.

New Delhi has been sourcing 70 percent of its high-tech military hardware from foreign suppliers mainly from Russia, Japan, Israel and United States. India's defence allocation for the current fiscal year (April 2020-March 2021) is US $65.86 billion.

COVID-19 hit India on 30 January and since then the caseload of viral infection has spiralled to cross 100,000. As of Thursday, there were 112,359 cases, including 45,300 cured cases and 3,435 deaths according to data released by the federal Health Ministry.

© Sputnik

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