- The defence ministry ordered Indian manufacturers to prove that they aren't doing business with Chinese businesses early this year.
With clauses that only permit established players to compete and that allow for raw materials to be sourced from China to be used by the contestants, the Army’s latest effort to acquire bullet-proof jackets for its troopers is likely to exclude startups and innovators.
Under the emergency financial authority granted to it by the federal government, the Indian Army is seeking to purchase more than 15,000 bulletproof jackets for its soldiers in order to satisfy the urgent needs resulting from the crisis on the northern frontiers.
Only organisations that have an industrial licence and have been registered as producers for the preceding two years may submit a bid to supply the jackets, according to the requirements outlined in a request for proposals that the Army issued last month.
Even though many defence ministry programmes under the Make in India initiative have inspired and promoted innovators, this may only qualify legacy players while leaving out a number of them.
Furthermore, there are no provisions that forbid the use of Chinese raw materials in jackets supplied to the Army. As previously reported, the defence ministry ordered Indian manufacturers to prove that they aren’t doing business with Chinese businesses early this year.
This year, a specific condition that forbade the use of raw materials from China was introduced into Coast Guard and Navy tenders. After the Indian company changed its provider as a result of winning the procurement contest, some of the $639 million the Army spent on the jackets ended up with Chinese companies.
Business organisations urged the government to adopt a strategy to reduce reliance on Chinese materials in June 2020, claiming that a sizable portion of international trade is being diverted to Chinese firms for the import of raw materials for protective gear.