This paper analyses the effects of the deregulation policy introduced in India in the mid-1980s on the relationship between technology imports and in-house R&D efforts. Using appropriate statistical techniques, it examines the interactions between policy regime, economic environment and the determinants of inter-industry variation in technology imports in Indian manufacturing. In doing so, it introduces R&D efforts as one of the main determinants. Literature suggests that there is simultaneity in the relationship between technology imports and R&D efforts. To tackle this problem, lagged R&D expenditure intensity is adopted as a proxy for in-house R&D efforts. The empirical results reveal that technology imports were only weakly related with the past in-house R&D efforts in the protective regime. Deregulation promoted complementarity between technology imports and R&D efforts significantly. The results also suggest that after deregulation, the impact of product differentiation, demand conditions and technology-related factors increased significantly in determining the inter-industry patterns of technology imports. Thus, unlike in a regulated regime where technology imports are viewed important for filling gaps in domestic technological capabilities, in a deregulated regime technology upgradation seems to be the major role of technology imports.