New Delhi: – The union cabinet has approved the export of Aakash missiles to the allies. This decision was taken in a cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India has set a target to export defence equipment worth USD 5 billion in the times to come. This decision to permit the export of Aakash forms an integral part of the plan. Saying that the export of Aakash will be different from the other defence-related exports made by India, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed satisfaction over the cabinet decision.
Aakash, the surface-to-air missile, was inducted in the Indian Air Force in 2014 and the Army in 2015. 96% of the components of Aakash, having a range of 25 kilometres, are manufactured in India. This is a very useful missile, and some of the allies had expressed interest in purchasing these missiles. Against this background, the union cabinet decided to approve the export of Aakash. India has the identity of being the largest importer of weapons in the world. But the union government has been claiming that this will change to a country manufacturing and exporting defence equipment. For this, the union government had set a target to export defence equipment worth USD 5 billion. Export of Aakash is an important stage on this front.
The export of Aakash becomes different from all the defence-related exports to date. Until now, the defence-related exports were majorly of spares going into equipment manufacture. Saying that the component of complete weapons and systems was negligible in the exports, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed satisfaction over the decision to permit the export of Aakash. India is taking this step to create its place in the weapons and defence equipment market. India will be providing impetus to defence manufacturing, with the production of defence equipment worth ₹1.75 trillion, till 2025. Policy decisions regarding this have already been taken. In May, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman increased the limit of foreign investment in the Indian companies, from 49% to 74% in the defence manufacturing sector.
In August, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced a list of 101 items necessary for the armed forces and announced the decision to purchase these items from domestic companies until 2024. The list includes transport aircraft, light combat aircraft, conventional submarines, cruise missiles and sonar systems.
These decisions have been taken to provide an impetus to the defence manufacturing sector. Confidence is being expressed that the country will benefit from these decisions in the future. Meanwhile, as India prepares to export Aakash missiles, it is also revealed that the BrahMos supersonic missiles, developed jointly by India and Russia, are also in demand. A few days ago, it was reported that Saudi Arabia would be purchasing BrahMos missiles from India. Reports have also been published that the south-east Asian countries, feeling the pressure of Chinese military might, also have expressed interest in purchasing the BrahMos missiles.