May 29, 2024

Upsurge in India’s Defence Exports: India’s Increasing Capabilities

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By: Amisha Mohan

Atmanirbhar Bharat: source Internet

The phenomenal growth in the Indian defence sector has left an indelible impression in world forums. India’s defence exports have significantly increased over the past years. The Indian Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh’s recent post on X also underscores India’s commitment towards Atmanirbharta (self-reliance). Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh posted on X, “delighted to inform everyone that the Indian Defence Exports have scaled to unprecedented heights and crossed Rs 21,000 crore mark for the first time in the history of Independent India! India’s defence exports have reached to the level of US$ 2.8 billion in the financial year 2023-24 which is a spectacular growth of 32.5% over the previous fiscal.”

The stipulated statement by the Defence Minister showcases the initiatives undertaken by the government to upscale India’s defence manufacturing capabilities. It is also a clear reflection of India’s consistent efforts to make its mark in world forums by increasing its momentum and strength. India’s defence exports span across 84 countries and regions worldwide. Collaborative efforts of both the public and private sectors have played a notable role in streamlining India’s progress in this sector.

The comparative data emphasized by the Ministry of Defence from 2004-05 to 2013-14 (US$ 0.57 billion) and 2014-15 to 2023-24 (US$ 11.77 billion) depicts that there has been a growth of 21 times in the defence sector. According to the Defence Ministry, “remarkable growth has been achieved due to the policy reforms and ‘Ease of Doing Business’ initiatives brought in by the Government, in addition to the end-to-end digital solution provided to the Indian industries for promoting defence exports.”

Exporters include Italy, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Russia, France, Nepal, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Israel, Egypt, UAE, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Guyana, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, USA, Poland, Brazil, among others. Among the main defence items being exported include Dornier 228 aircrafts, ALH helicopters, Brahmos supersonic missiles, patrol vehicles, unmanned systems, radars, simulators, explosives, avionics, surveillance systems, bullet- proof jackets, armoured jackets.

India has been consistently trying to bolster its defence capabilities. The queries from Nigeria and Argentina for its Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, and 155 mm Advanced Towed Artillery Guns (ATAGs) reiterates its underlying mission. Moreover, India recently extended a Line of Credit (LOC) of 23.37 million dollars to Guyana which allowed it to procure two Dornier 228 aircraft from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Guyana is also in talks with India to acquire armoured vehicles, patrol vessels and radar systems. The recent boost in exports highlights the surge in global interest in Indian defence products like LCA-Tejas, light combat vehicles, etc. Government initiatives like liberalised export policies have aided in bringing ease of doing business. For instance, Open General Export Licenses (OGEL), a one- time export license permits the industry to export requisite items to requisite destinations mentioned in OGEL, without attaining support authorisation during the validity of OGEL.

The Indian government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made proactive efforts in boosting investments for this essential sector of the economy. The strategic partnerships and the defence diplomacy have facilitated in building trust and strengthening international cooperation in the defence sector. According to Rajinder Singh Bhatia, President of Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), “the increased defence exports are also an indication of coming of age of the Indian industry.” The multifaceted role played by the defence sector has enhanced India’s diplomatic influence in the contemporary era. The Ministry of Defence has highlighted it as “a reflection of global acceptability of Indian defence products and technology.”


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