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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Indian cabinet approves export of Akash missile

In a significant decision, India today gave the green signal to the export of its surface-to-air missile Akash in the first initiative for export of big-ticket defence platforms.

The approval was given at a meeting of the cabinet chaired by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today.

The Akash missile, with a range of 25km, inducted in the Indian Air Force in 2014 and in the Indian Army in 2015, is the country’s important missile with over 96 percent indigenisation.

However, the export version of Akash missile “will be different from the system currently deployed with the Indian Armed forces,” an official statement said.

“After its induction in the Indian defence services, interest is shown in Akash missile by many friendly countries during international exhibitions/Def Expo/Aero India,” the defence ministry statement said without naming the countries.

So far, Indian defence exports included parts and components while the export of big platforms was minimal and today’s decision of the cabinet would help India improve its defence products and make them globally competitive, it said.

Besides Akash, interest has been shown in other major Indian defence platforms like coastal surveillance systems, radars and air platforms.

To provide faster approvals for export of such platforms, a committee comprising the defence minister, external affairs minister and national security advisor has been formed which would authorise exports of major indigenous platforms to various countries. The committee would also explore various available options including the government-to-government route.

India is looking at “exporting high-value defence platforms to achieve the target of five billion USD of defence export and [to] improve strategic relations with friendly foreign countries,” the statement said.

India had recently said at a webinar convened by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce that it was keen to work with Bangladesh for defence hardware platforms like Akash missile, radars, mortars, artillery guns and ammunitions and invited investments from its eastern neighbour in two key Indian defence industrial corridors.

India has extended a defence line of credit of US$ 500 million to Bangladesh that is already operational and they “are keen to work with Bangladesh for platforms like Akash missile, radars, mortars, artillery guns and ammunitions”, Raj Kumar, secretary, defence production, India, had told the webinar.

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