By Ayaskant Das
New Delhi, Oct 24 (IANS) Finding buyers for indigenously-developed platforms is a major challenge for India in its quest to increase defence exports, experts said here on Wednesday.
At present, Indian defence exports comprise of components that are mostly used by foreign original equipment manufacturers for building larger platforms.
In the year 2018-19, the Indian defence exports stood at Rs 10,745 crore. As per industry experts, the target of Rs 35,000 crore, set for the year 2024, is achievable given the pace at which the sector is growing.
However, in order to further increase the volume of defence exports, the development of indigenous equipment which are competitive in the international market, both in terms of technology and price, is needed.
“Marketing of defence equipment is a big area on which India needs to develop. In advanced economies, heads of state actively promote arms export of private industries. India needs to catch up on this,” LK Behera, research fellow, Institute for Defence Studies & Analysis (IDSA) told IANS.
At present, most of the exports in the defence industries are from the private sector. Indigenously developed platforms like the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), the Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher and the Akash surface-to-air missile have only been inducted into the domestic armed forces.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said in Bengaluru in September, after taking a sortie on a Tejas LCA, that India is now in a position to export the aircraft.
“For exporting these products need to be competitive in the international market,” added Behera.
As exporters of components, India is no doubt a part now of the global supply chain of defence industries. As per industry experts, continuous order availability and robust marketing of indigenous products is crucial to the growth of exports.
“As on this date, defence offsets by foreign original equipment manufacturers to the tune of USD 10 billion is pending. These offset obligations are being fulfilled and the industry is set to grow. However, marketing of indigenously developed equipment is a huge challenge. The acid test of marketing a defence product in foreign countries is passed only if our own forces begin using indigenously developed equipment,” Dr RK Tyagi, Director, Indigenous Defence Equipment Exporters Association, told IANS.
(Ayaskant Das can be contacted at [email protected])