New Delhi:The armed forces will completely ban the import of clothing, required to sustain its soldiers at extreme temperatures across the country, if the Indian textile industry is able to innovate and manufacture them, said Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday.
“We are looking at the kind of clothing that can sustain our soldiers in the kind of extreme cold climate (near northern borders of Ladakh) and in the hot, dry and humid climate in the deserts and the north-eastern regions where we have the jungle and semi-mountainous terrain,” he said in his speech at an event organised by industry body FICCI.
As of now, a large amount of clothing for the armed forces is being imported but in the past one or two years, there has been a lot of innovation by the Indian industry as far as high altitude clothing is concerned, he said.
“We have now started placing orders for such clothing. And if we find that this thing can take off and support us, we will not hesitate in putting the entire clothing or the entire ‘techno clothing’ that we are using in the armed forces on the positive indigenisation list, which we were earlier calling the negative list for imports,” Rawat said.
“This means we will completely ban the import of these items and make sure that the defence services have to depend only on the Indian industry as part of our Atmanirbhar Bharat support that we wish to give to the industry,” he added.
Techno clothing is special clothing that is developed by incorporating new technology to make it usable in special circumstances and places such as extremely cold areas, biomedical equipment, aircraft, etc.
The government in August last year announced a ‘negative list for imports’ that restricted purchase of 101 defence items such as light combat helicopters, transport aircraft, conventional submarines and cruise missiles from foreign entities.
Rawat said, “As far as defence services are concerned, we have a huge stake in techno textiles. We are large users of textiles that use technology and we will continue to use them in the years ahead.”
Today, soldiers are serving in altitudes at the northern borders where the temperature falls to as low as minus 50 degree celsius in the winters, he said.
“We have our jawans operating in the deserts where the temperature rises to as high as 58 degree celsius in the summers. I’m not saying the same textile should suffice and meet both the parameters,” he added.