The Indian Defense Ministry has declared that Indian armor manufacturers need to certify that they will not use ballistic material with a Chinese origin.
The declaration came after a large delivery to the Indian Army of bulletproof vests that contained a significant amount of Chinese material. A recent tender for body armor issued by the Indian Coast Guard includes a specific paragraph that bans the use of raw materials from China.
The tender for these 746 pieces of body armor states that competing Indian companies have to submit a declaration that ballistic materials will not be imported from China. The Indian Army which already bought ballistic vests containing material with a Chinese origin in the past, will also be likely to include this mandatory declaration in the future.
The most important reason to use ballistic material from China was the lower price Chinese companies could offer. Before, Indian manufacturing companies were buying ballistic materials for body armor from the US and Europe.
In 2018 the Indian company SMPP was awarded a contract to supply 186,000 pieces of body armor to the Indian Army. In 2019 it became clear that in order to cut costs the company shifted to Chinese raw material instead of material from the US and The Netherlands. This raised questions about the about the quality and long term performance issues off the ballistic vests.
The Indian Defense Ministry has stated that their forces will require large numbers of personal protection products such as ballistic vests and helmets in order reduce casualties in future conflicts. They also state they are determined to further reduce dependence on Chinese materials.