Quantum Jump in Defence Exports

Asia News Agency

Quantum Jump in Defence Exports

Defence exports have increased from Rs 1,521 crores in the financial year 2016-2017 to Rs 15,921 crores in 2022-2023, in the last 6 years. This is a tenfold increase.  But, India also continues to be among the top ten arms exporters.

The government’s path-breaking reform of ‘Aatmanirbharta’, or self reliance, writes Lt Gen H S Panag PVSM, AVSM retd. (was GOC in C Northern Command and Central Command. Post-retirement, he was Member of Armed Forces Tribunal) “in defence and its liberal arms export policy is responsible for this success story.”

Two years ago, on 5 February 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said “In the next five years, our target is to increase exports to $5 billion.”

Export of major platforms: At the Combined Commander Conference (CCC) held in Bhopal on 1 April,  the government said India now exports  “major platforms like Dornier-228, 155 mm Advanced Towed Artillery Guns (ATAGs), Brahmos Missiles, Akash Missile System, Radars, Simulators, Mine Protected Vehicles, Armoured Vehicles, PINAKA Rockets & Launchers, Ammunitions, Thermal Imagers, Body Armours, besides Systems, Line Replaceable Units and Parts & components of Avionics and Small Arms.”

More needs to be done: The former Genera however notes, “the private sector accounts for only 21% of the exports. 79 percent of the exports are from Defence Public Sector Undertakings, erstwhile Ordnance Factory Board and other public sector undertakings/ joint ventures.”

Also, “our exports in this field are currently limited and not competitive. And our market is restricted to countries with poor paying capacity who have to rely on our credit line. The situation is unlikely to change until our weapons/equipment becomes more competitive in terms of quality.

“…..In the interim, we should continue to focus on export of low-end technology weapons/equipment and non-lethal military equipment. All developing countries maintain their own military and police forces. Relatively poor countries in Africa and the Middle East, without any manufacturing base, import military equipment from Western countries, China and Russia at rates that they can ill afford. Our endeavour should be to garner the small arms and non-lethal military equipment market, which by itself can enable us to reach the $5 billion target.”

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