With the Centre likely to announce a bigger cap of foreign investment in India's defence sector, leaders from western nations such as the United States, France and Britain are slated to visit Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon to discuss deals that may run up to billions of dollars.
While French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is slated to be the first one to arrive with the intent of pushing the $15 billion deal to sell Rafale fighter jets to India, US Senator John McCain and Britain Foreign Secretary William Hague are expected to visit soon as well, reported Reuters.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin visited India and met with Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj two weeks ago. Russia continues to be the top supplier of weapons to India.
While there is clamour from some sections against opening the defence sector to FDI, with former Defence Minister AK Antony himself calling the move "suicidal", there is strong optimism that the government will raise the cap for foreign investment in the sector.
Even as the government is expected to open FDI in defence, here is an ascending list of figures to put the prospect in picture –
- India is currently the largest importer of weapons in the world
- $5 million – The amount of investment that India attracted between 2001 and 2013
- $6 billion – The amount India spent on arms imports last year
- 26 percent- Current cap for FDI in defence, without technology transfer. At present, any further investment in the defence sector entails that the Cabinet Committee on Security clears the decision.
- 49 percent - The ceiling that the Modi government is expected to set for FDI. The government has been hinting at opening up the defence sector to FDI, to make India a manufacturing hub instead of being the world's largest importer of arms.
- $50 billion – The amount India spent on military expenditure in the last five years.
- 51 percent – The ceiling on defence investment that is said to be the right figure to attract foreign investors, as several government sources and experts were quoted as saying by the Economic Times.
- 70 percent – The percentage of India's total defence requirement that has to be achieved through imports.
- 100 percent - The total foreign direct investment in manufacturing state-of-the-art equipment that the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion is looking to propose, as reported by Reuters.
- $250 billion - The amount India is expected to spend on weapon procurement in the next six to seven years