Rajnath says it will be different from one currently deployed with Indian armed forces
As part of efforts to boost defence exports,. the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday approved the export of the indigenously developed and manufactured Akash short-range Surface to Air Missile (SAM) system. It also approved the high-level committee formed to expedite clearance of such exports.
Besides Akash, there was interest coming in for other major platforms such as the Coastal Surveillance System, radars and air platforms, the Defence Ministry said. For faster approval of export of such platforms, a committee comprising the Defence Minister, the External Affairs Minister and the National Security Advisor had been created, it stated.
“This committee would authorise subsequent exports of major indigenous platforms to various countries. It would also explore various available options, including the government to government route,” it said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Twitter: “The export version of Akash will be different from system currently deployed with Indian armed forces.”
Export of big platforms
So far, Indian defence exports included parts and components but the export of big platforms was minimal, Mr. Singh noted. “This decision by the Cabinet would help the country to improve its defence products and make them globally competitive.”
After its induction in the Services, interest was shown in the Akash missile by many friendly countries during international exhibitions/Def Expo/Aero India, the Ministry said, adding that the Cabinet approval would facilitate Indian manufactures to participate in tenders issued by various countries.
Akash has a range of 25 km and can simultaneously engage multiple targets in all weather conditions. It has a large operational envelope from a low altitude of 30 metres to a maximum of up to 20 km. It was inducted in 2014 in the Air Force and in 2015 in the Indian Army.
“Akash is the country’s important missile with over 96% indigenisation,” Mr. Singh pointed out.
Vietnam evinces interest
As reported by The Hindu earlier, under the second Line of Credit (LoC) of $500 mn extended by India to Vietnam in 2016, Hanoi has expressed interest in procuring the Akash system and Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter.
To achieve the target of $5 bn defence exports and improve strategic relations with friendly foreign countries, the government intended to focus on exporting high value defence platforms, he stressed.
In August, the Defence Ministry issued a draft ‘Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP) 2020’ for public feedback with the aim to achieve a manufacturing turnover of $25 bn or ₹1,75,000 crore, including exports of $5 bn in aerospace and defence goods and services by 2025,