In a bid to boost Indian defense exports, BrahMos Aerospace has signed a $375 million deal with the Philippines to supply the BrahMos cruise missile to the country’s navy. The Philippine Navy will use it as a land-based anti-ship missile with a range of 290 km.
BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Russia, has continuously upgraded the missile system, making it deadlier against sea and land targets.
BrahMos is one of the powerful missile weapon systems used by the Indian Army; already inducted into the Armed Forces and used by the Army, Air Force and Navy in different variations. It can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land platforms.
Intended to deter China
A statement from the Philippine Department of National Defense says the BrahMos will provide a deterrent against any attempt to undermine sovereign rights in the Philippine Sea – a reference to the South China Sea where China maintains an aggressive posture.
While the deal is finally done with the Philippines, other countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, which have shown interest in acquiring the anti-ship missile, could also join in. we. Malaysia and Vietnam are also claimants in the South China Sea.
Experts are of the opinion that if India succeeds in supplying expensive military systems to neighboring countries, it will not only boost defense exports, but also be a strategic step to counter China’s influence, as it provides defense products. in Asia, notably in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
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Indian defense exports surge
There has been a monumental increase in India’s defense exports – from Rs 1,940.64 crore in 2014-2015 to Rs 8,434.84 crore, the Ministry of Defense had said in a response to a question of Parliament in December 2021.
While the increase in exports is significant, the BrahMos agreement with the Philippines is the first for a major military platform.
The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has recently signed a contract with the Mauritian government for the export of the advanced version of Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH Mark III). Mauritius already operates ALH and Do-228 aircraft built by HAL.
The Ministry of Defense Production lists Italy, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Russia, France, Nepal, Mauritius, Israel, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Bhutan, Ethiopia, l Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, Poland, Spain and Chile as India’s export destinations for defense articles.
The main defense articles listed for export are personal protective articles, offshore patrol vessels, advanced light helicopters and surveillance systems.
In another response last year to a parliamentary question, the Ministry of Defense said India exported items to 84 countries. These were not military platforms or expensive weapon systems. These included items such as a tear gas launcher, night vision devices, fire control systems, weapons simulators and lightweight torpedoes.
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Export target of $5 billion by 2025
India has set a target to export defense equipment worth Rs 35,000 crore ($5 billion) by 2025. Aiming to increase exports and build a national defense industry, the new policy aims for autonomy and aims to achieve a turnover of Rs 1.75,000 crore. (25 billion US dollars). The policy also envisages doubling domestic purchases from Indian industry.
To promote self-reliance and reduce imports, the Ministry of Defense has also released a list of 2,851 items placed in an import embargo list aimed at saving Rs 3,000 crore per year with import ban these articles.
How India fares with other countries
The list of import bans already seems to be having an impact. According to a study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), there were three Indian companies in the top 100 arms companies and their combined arms sales increased by 1.7%.
However, a comparison with China shows how far ahead Chinese companies have come. “The combined arms sales of the five Chinese companies included in the top 100 amounted to approximately $66.8 billion in 2020, up 1.5% from 2019. Chinese companies accounted for 13% of the total of the top 100 arms sales in 2020, behind the US companies and ahead of UK companies, which made up the third largest share,” the SIPRI report said.
He quotes Dr. Nan Tian, senior researcher at SIPRI: “In recent years, Chinese arms companies have benefited from the country’s military modernization programs and focused on military-civilian fusion. They have become some of the most advanced producers of military technology in the world. NORINCO, for example, co-developed the BeiDou military-civilian satellite navigation system and deepened its involvement in emerging technologies.
The SIPRI report says that while the United States once again hosted the highest number of companies ranked in the top 100, Russian arms sales fell for the third year in a row.
“Combined, arms sales for the 41 U.S. companies were $285 billion — a 1.9% increase from 2019 — and accounted for 54% of total arms sales for the top 100. Since 2018, the top five companies in the ranking are all based in the United States,” the report said.
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India’s strategy to boost defense exports
The Ministry of Defense has proposed an export promotion agency that can advise the government on various export-related issues, coordinate all government export facilitation programs, educate industry on various export facilitation measures, and promote exports through specific marketing efforts. in the target countries.
“The agency will identify appropriate export markets in consultation with the Department of External Affairs and the Department of Commerce, bearing in mind our foreign policy and various international export control and arms control regimes,” he said. the ministry said in a statement.
As part of defense diplomacy aimed at increasing exports, Indian missions have been asked to promote Indian defense exports. If necessary, industry delegations would be brought to the target countries under the leadership of officials.