India’s defense exports have experienced significant growth, reaching a record high. The value of exports has increased from 686 crore rupees in 2013-14 to nearly 16 thousand crore rupees in 2022-23, marking a remarkable 23-fold increase. This demonstrates India’s progress in the global defense manufacturing sector. The country’s defense industry has showcased its design and development capabilities to the world, with exports being sent to over 85 countries. Currently, around 100 firms are engaged in exporting defense products. The government has implemented various policy initiatives and reforms over the past nine years to stimulate defense exports and support the industry’s growth.
India’s Ambitious Target & Major Defense Exports
- The Narendra Modi government set a target of achieving Rs 35,000 crore ($5 billion) in aerospace and defense exports by 2025.
- India exports defense items to more than 85 countries, with a focus on the aerospace sector.
- Indian firms manufacture various parts, including fuselage components and critical parts, for foreign companies.
- Successful collaborations include joint ventures between Lockheed Martin and Tata Group, Boeing, and Tata, for the production of fighter wing chipsets and Apache helicopter fuselages, respectively.
- Indian companies are involved in manufacturing and exporting components for systems assembled by foreign companies.
- Major defense equipment exported by India includes weapon simulators, tear-gas launchers, torpedoes, night vision devices, lightweight torpedoes, and more.
- India has transformed from being primarily a defense equipment importer to an exporter of platforms such as aircraft, artillery guns, missiles, radars, and armored vehicles.
- The demand for indigenous Indian products, including LCA-Tejas, Light Combat Helicopters, Aircraft Carriers, and MRO activities, is increasing globally.
- Notable exports include 122mm barrels, boosters, detonating caps, optical sights, artillery systems, anti-tank guided missiles, and ammunition to countries like Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Armenia.
- India’s defense exports have seen significant engagement with Myanmar, with about 50% of exports from 2017 to 2021 going to Myanmar, followed by Sri Lanka and Armenia.
- Export deliveries to some countries are yet to start, including exports of BrahMos missiles to the Philippines and mounted artillery systems to Armenia.
Measures Taken to Increase Defense Exports
- The government has implemented various measures to promote defense exports.
- The inclusion of the “Munitions List” in the SCOMET Category 6 has facilitated the export of munitions by designating the Department of Defense Production (DDP) as the licensing authority.
- The DDP has issued a standard operating procedure for the export of items in Category 6, streamlining the process.
- An online portal has been established for receiving and processing export authorization permits, enabling faster processing of applications.
- Repeat orders of the same product to the same entity are expedited without the need for consultation, while the consultation is limited to the Ministry of External Affairs for repeat orders to different entities.
- The requirement of an end-user certificate (EUC) from the importing country’s government has been eliminated for intra-company business, allowing the buying company to issue the EUC.
- A dedicated cell has been set up in the DDP to coordinate export-related actions, including responding to inquiries, sharing leads with private and public sector companies, and facilitating exports.
- The Defense Industrial Corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, along with initiatives like Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat, have promoted indigenous design, development, and manufacture of defense equipment, reducing reliance on imports.
- The expenditure on defense procurement from foreign sources has decreased from 46% of overall expenditure in 2018-19 to over 36% as of December last year.
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Who is the biggest defense supplier to India?
According to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Russia remains the largest arms supplier to India, despite its share of Indian defense imports decreasing from 62% to 45% between 2017 and 2022. France emerged as the second-largest supplier, accounting for 29% of India’s defense imports, surpassing the United States, which held an 11% share. The report highlights the evolving dynamics of India’s defense procurement, with a diversification of suppliers and a reduction in Russia’s dominance.
Who are the top defense importers from India?
Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Armenia, Bangladesh, and Nepal are the top defense importers from India. India has supplied these countries with a variety of weapons and equipment, including artillery, small arms, and armored vehicles. India’s defense exports are growing rapidly, but it will continue to import a significant amount of defense equipment.