National Security

Drone Import Banned in India

to promote made-in-India

India has banned import of drones except for R&D, defence and security purposes. The ban, which comes into immediate effect, is aimed at promoting the domestic drone manufacturing industry. 

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the commerce and industry ministry has issued a notification banning the import of foreign drones.

The civil aviation ministry said that in order to promote Made in India drones, import of foreign drones has been prohibited with effect from February 9, 2022.

The ministry came out with liberalised drone rules in August 2021.
After the rules, the ministry issued the drone airspace map and PLI scheme in September 2021.

PLI scheme for drone manufacture::

The move comes over a week after the Union Budget proposed the Drone Shakti scheme to facilitate application and use of ‘drones as service’ in the country. 
A PLI (production linked incentive scheme) – that provides up to 20 per cent incentive to manufacturers of drones and allied components – and aim to make India a drone manufacturing hub by 2030 has already been cleared by the Union Cabinet in September 2021.  Besides, drone certification scheme and single window DigitalSky Platform were put in place last month.

A tactical move that effectively blocks an emerging market for China’s SZ DJI Technology Co., the world’s top dronemaker, and encourages a nascent local industry to ramp up production.
India is among several countries across the world that are trying to look for alternatives to China for products and components, as the pandemic and global trade tensions amplify a need to diversify supply chain and limit risk. India and China are engaged in a protracted standoff along their disputed Himalayan border.

The continuing disputes between China and US, drones have taken center stage as concerns surface that Shenzhen-based DJI may be relaying some sensitive data to Chinese intelligence agencies on everything from critical infrastructure like bridges and dams, as well as personal information such as heart rates and facial recognition.India last year relaxed rules on the use of drones to make it easier to acquire licenses and allowed heavier payloads so the devices can potentially be used as unmanned flying taxis. India will offer 1.2 billion rupees ($16 million) of incentives for drone makers under P. M. Modi’s $20 billion plan to rule the world’s biggest brands to make their products in India and export them to the world.

Rattanindia Enterprises Ltd., a local dronemaker, said India’s move will help in making the South Asian nation a drone manufacturing hub. The new rules will allow better efficiency in supply chain operations, inventory and fund management.

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