Source – The Economic times
Indian defence exports have breached the ‘13,000 crore mark, with a new record to be achieved this financial year given increased demand in Europe and efforts by the government to engage partners like Armenia that are looking for reliable suppliers.
According to global arms sales tracker SIPRI, India still remains the world’s largest importer of arms but purchases from foreign vendors has declined by 11% between 2013-17 and 2018-22. This number is likely to swiftly fall further as India has drastically reduced options for imports, relying instead on awarding contracts to local companies.
As per the latest data available with the defence ministry, the total export value of defence goods is pegged at Rs 13,399 crore till the first week of March. The number could go up further as deals get signed right till the end of the financial year.
This would make 2022-23 the highest in terms of sales of arms to foreign nations, beating the Rs 12,815 earned last year. Arms exports saw a dip from a high of Rs 10,746 crore in 2018-19. Industry insiders say queries and orders have been coming from across the world but there has been a big upswing in demand from Europe, given the prolonged Russia-Ukraine war.
Major defence equipment exported during last five years include weapon simulators, tear gas launcher, torpedo loading mechanism, alarm monitoring & control, night vision monocular and binocular, light weight torpedo and fire control systems, armoured protection vehicle, weapons locating radar, HF radio and coastal surveillance radar,” the defence ministry has informed parliament
A slew of export orders signed with Armenia, including Pinaka Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers, artillery guns, a range of ammunition among other systems, has helped shore up numbers this year. According to officials, India currently exports weapons to over 80 nations, with the US being a prominent customer. Significant exports are done by Indian companies that have got orders from US defence majors to supply parts of platforms like the F 16 fighter jets, Chinook and Apache helicopters among others.
The government has set a target of achieving defence manufacturing worth Rs 1,75,000 crore by 2024-25, which would include exports worth Rs 35,000 crore. As per current estimates, the defence manufacturing value for 2022-23 is likely to breach Rs 1 lakh crore.
The Indian Navy is participating in multilateral exercise La Perouse being conducted in the Indian Ocean Region. The exercise will feature participation from Royal Australian Navy, French Navy, Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force, Royal Navy and the United States Navy.
The two-day exercise provides “an opportunity for like-minded navies to develop closer links in planning, coordination and information sharing for seamless maritime operations”, according to an official. It will include surface warfare, anti-air warfare, air defence exercises, cross deck landings and tactical manoeuvres. Indigenously-built guided missile frigate INS Sahyadri and fleet tanker INS Jyoti will be participating in the exercise.