Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday hit out at Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, saying the "import embargo" on defence equipment announced by him was "high sounding jargon" as their only importer was the Defence Ministry. The defence minister promised a "bang" on a Sunday morning and ended with a "whimper", Chidambaram said in a series of tweets.
"The only importer of defence equipment is the Defence Ministry. Any import embargo is really an embargo on oneself," the former home minister said. What the defence minister said in his "historic Sunday announcement" deserved only an office order from the minister to his secretaries, Chidambaram said.
"Import embargo is high sounding jargon. 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!" he said. In a major reform initiative to boost the domestic defence industry, the defence minister announced restrictions on import of 101 weapons and military platforms including artillery guns, assault rifles and transport aircraft.
"The Ministry of Defence is now ready for a big push to #AtmanirbharBharat initiative," Singh said on Twitter while making the announcement. He said the ministry has prepared a list of 101 items for which the embargo on imports is planned to be progressively implemented between 2020 and 2024.