India Bans Import of Foreign Drones – sUAS News

In a move that I personally think was a huge mistake, India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) announced that it was effectively game over for DJI and others in India.

The order prohibiting foreign drones came into force on February 9, 2022. Don’t take your drone on vacation with you now! It also puts thousands of Indian casual drone users at risk, as their DJI craft has effectively become illegal.

There is no doubt that there has been intensive lobbying by Indian manufacturers to make this a reality, only caring about the here and now and not the big picture.

There is an exclusion that will be abused relentlessly.

The policy of importing drones in CBU (Completely Built-Up)/CKD (Completely Knocked Down)/SKD (Semi Knocked Down) form… is prohibited with exceptions provided for R&D, defense and security purposes. If you are an R&D organization, or a government-certified institution, or a drone manufacturing company, etc., you can import up to a maximum of five drones for prototyping, testing, technology transfer with the allied countries. These imports by authorized institutions can be authorized after the approvals in good and due form of the DGFT and the authorizations of the supervisory ministries.

It will work if local companies can match international prices, quality and reliability.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech called UAS a booming industry. She also spoke about facilitating “Drone Shakti” through various applications, Drone-As-A-Service (DrAAS) and “Drones Kisan” for crop assessment, digitization of land records, insecticide spraying and nutrients.

Maybe his ear was twisted from too much VC BS. India makes great platforms but is at best a decade behind the curve.

Here is my bet, India will eventually make large rovers and self-driving boats because the friction needed for development will be far less.

Hope I am completely wrong, good luck Indian drone operators.

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