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In the latest development, manufacturers of protective gear and bullet-proof jackets worn by Army personnel in forwarding areas were revealed to have used Chinese raw materials for their manufacturing.
Two days after the violent clash between the Indian and Chinese forces in Ladakh's Galwan valley, the Ministry of Defence contacted manufacturers of this weaponry for "urgent" reinforcement of supplies estimated at 2 lakh units.
It was later found out that a majority of the existing Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) use Chinese raw materials. This included the company that got the 2017 contract it's in the delivery stage for supplying 1.86 lakh bullet-proof jackets to the Army.
As per reports by The Indian Express, announcing the Rs 639-crore contract to SMPP Pvt Ltd, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said, in Parliament, that there was "no embargo" on the import of raw materials from China for the manufacture of protective jackets for the Army.
On Saturday, the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry sent a letter to the Defence Secretary on the subject of boycotting the usages of Chinese products.
That letter mentioned imports of High-Performance Polyethylene (HPPE) from China for the manufacture of bullet-resistant jackets. It said "Generally all the manufacturers (of protective gear) are importing this material from companies based in the Republic of China and very sizeable foreign exchange is diverted to these companies…we request you to kindly make a policy to reduce dependence on the Chinese materials substantially so that the security and safety of our fighting soldiers are not compromised…"
S C Kansal, Managing Director of SMPP Pvt ltd in a report to The Indian Express, acknowledged the dependency on raw materials from china while also assuring that they will comply with the temperament of the nation which stands strictly against the use of Chinese goods.
Neeraj Gupta, Managing Director of MKU, said that the firm imports raw materials from either US or European countries which push their prices up. "Chinese raw materials are 60%-70% cheaper than other international firms but this is a sector where the quality of the gear and minimum loss of life on the frontlines is of utmost importance," he said.
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