The Indian Defence Industry acquired a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of USD 2.18 million during the 2018-19. This was announced at the parliament on Wednesday.
In 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2017-18, the sector attracted FDI worth USD 0.08 million, USD 0.10 million and USD 0.01 million, respectively. The Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal submitted a written reply in the Lok Sabha. As per the statement submitted by Goyal, the 2016-17 quarter saw a reduced overseas investment. The other sectors which received zero inflows during the last fiscal include photographic raw film and paper, and coir.
The current policy states that foreign investment which is beyond 49 per cent is only permitted through approval route in the defence sector. Additionally, the FDI limit for the defence sector has also been made applicable for manufacturing small arms and ammunition which fall under the Arms Act, 1959. The overall FDI inflows declined for the first time in last six years in 2018-19, falling 1 per cent to USD 44.37 billion as foreign investments saw a major drop in telecommunication and pharmaceutical sectors.
A steady flow of FDI aids in improving the country's balance of payments situation and strengthens the value of rupee against other global currencies, mainly the US dollar. In another question, the minister said that a request for an industrial park at Kolar Gold Fields has been received.
Earlier in March, four indigenously-developed and manufactured Dhanush howitzers were inducted into the force for deployment on the front lines on March 26. The Dhanush gun system is based on the designs of the Bofors howitzer which was inducted in the Army in 1980s and would be the third type of artillery gun to be inducted into the force after the K-9 Vajra and the M-777 ultra-light howitzers.
Dhanush is a 155mm x 45mm calibre artillery gun and after undergoing multiple tests will replace the older 105 mm Indian Field Gun, 105 mm Light Field Gun and the Russian 122 mm guns with a modern 155mm artillery gun. The Army had placed an order for more than 110 of these guns with the Ordnance Factory and they would help the force to modernise its artillery which had been awaiting induction for over three decades till sometime ago.
(With PTI inputs)