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India enters the big league of Defence exporters.

Defense news by Sushant Singh , NRI Herald Australia 17 December 2021

From 1,521 crore in 2016-17 to 8,434.84 ($1.1 billion USD) crore in 2020-21, India's defence exports have grown. In 2018-19, the value was Rs. 10,745 crore ($1.8 Billion USD). By 2025, the Indian government has set an ambitious goal of exporting aerospace and defence items and services worth around 35,000 crore ($5 billion USD)

Which Indian companies are the most successful exporters?

According to the latest report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), three Indian firms — Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Ordnance Factory Board, and Bharat Electronics Ltd — are among the top 100 defence corporations in the world in 2020. (BEL). "Their $6.5 billion in total arms sales in 2020 were 1.7 percent more than in 2019 and contributed for 1.2 percent of the top 100 total," according to the study, which was released earlier this month.

"Further, the identities of the major defence equipment sold cannot be published due to strategic reasons," Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt stated in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha earlier this week, while disclosing the value of defence exports.
Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt

According to another SIPRI report from 2020, India's arms imports decreased overall between 2011-15 and 2016-20, and while it remained among the top importers, it was also among the top 25 military exporters.

Image: Rajnath Singh (Defense Minister of India)

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced at the Indian Ocean Region Defence Ministers conclave at Aero India 2021 that India was ready to supply IOR nations with a variety of missile systems, LCA/helicopters, multi-purpose light transport aircraft, warships and patrol vessels, artillery gun systems, tanks, radars, military vehicles, electronic warfare systems, and other weapons systems.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi remarked in February that the shifting geopolitical reality meant that many smaller nations were now concerned about security and would look to India for help because of its prowess in low-cost, high-quality manufacture. "We now export to almost 40 countries." He had added, "We now have to emerge as a worldwide exporter."

Several platforms have been lined up for export by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and Bharat Electronics Limited. HAL has pitched its helicopters and the Tejas LCA to a number of Southeast Asian and West Asian countries, and is in a competition with Malaysia to supply the LCA. The sale of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, developed jointly by India and Russia, is nearing completion with some Southeast Asian countries.

Air Marshal Anil Chopra (retd)

According to Air Marshal Anil Chopra (retd), director general of the Centre for Air Power Studies, the recent import statistics is a strong indicator that the country's effort towards Atmanirbharta (आत्मनिर्भरता- Selfreliance) is yielding benefits. "India has reached a tipping point, and the Indian defence sector is maturing," he remarked.

Russia's arms exports, which accounted for 20% of all major arms shipments in 2016–20, fell by 22%, according to the research. "The majority of this drop — over 90% — was due to a 53 percent drop in its armament exports to India," Sipri said. During the last five years, India has been the largest purchaser of Russian military hardware, accounting for 23% of Russia's total exports.

Exports by China, the world's fifth largest arms exporter in 2016-20, declined 7.8% between 2011-15 and 2016-20, according to the report. During the last five years, China accounted for 74 percent of Pakistan's military imports, up from 61 percent in 2011-15. "For its arms requirements, Pakistan is now firmly in China's grasp," Chopra added.
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