Status of India’s Defence Exports – UPSC GS3

  • The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) ranked India at number 23 in the list of major arms exporters for 2015-2019.
  • India still accounts for only 0.17% of global arms exports.
  • Recent Brahmos deal with Philippines is worth $375 million.
  • From 2016-17 to 2018-19, India’s defence exports have registered a staggering 700% growth.
  • The value of exports of defence items including major items in Financial Year 2020-21 was stood at ₹8,434.84 crore. The export target for the financial year 2021-22 was ₹10,000 crore.
  • India has set itself an ambitious target to achieve a manufacturing turnover of $25 billion or ₹1,75,000 crore including exports of ₹35,000 crores in aerospace and defence goods and services by 2025.
Destination Countries: Over 30 Indian defence companies have exported arms and equipment to countries like Italy, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Russia, France, Nepal, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Israel, Egypt, UAE, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Poland, Spain and Chile.
Exported Items: The exports include personal protective items, defence electronics systems, engineering mechanical equipment, offshore patrol vessels, advanced light helicopters, avionics suits, radio systems and radar systems.
Reason of low Exports:
  • Reason for dismal performance in India’s Defence exports is that, India’s Ministry of Defence so far has no dedicated agency to drive exports.
  • Exports are left to individual corporations, like BrahMos or the defence public shipyards and undertakings.
  • If India is successful in providing big-ticket military systems to countries in the neighbourhood, it won’t just be a boost for defence exports but will also be a strategic step to counter China’s influence as it provides defence products in Asia, including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Measures being taken by the Government to promote defence exports:
  • Simplified defence industrial licensing
  • Relaxation of export controls and grant of No Objection Certificates (NOC)
  • A committee comprising the Defence Minister, External Affairs Minister and National Security Advisor has been set up to provide faster approvals for the export of major defence platforms
  • Extending Line of Credit (LoC) to foreign countries to import defence products
  • Empowering Defence Attaches in Indian missions abroad to promote defence exports

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