For nine days, a brand new MiG-29K fighter plane acquired from Russia has been standing at the Goa port.
It will not go anywhere for now, say sources, unless the defence ministry pays over Rs. 160 crore in customs duty. At airports and ports across the country, there is a growing collection of overhauled aircraft engines and military equipment worth crores.
This year, the government said that the military will no longer be spared from customs duty for imports. The idea was to provide a level playing field to Indian defence manufacturers.
But, in an apparent oversight, the finance ministry’s blanket order withdrawing duty exemption for all military hardware imports has brought all equipment belonging to the services in the tax net.