In a major move to materialise the vision of boosting India’s domestic defence manufacturing, the cabinet has approved the export of indigenously-developed surface-to-air Akash missile system and set up a panel to ensure faster approvals for acquisition proposals by various countries. The Akash missile system has 96 per cent Indian components and can hit targets at a range of 25 KMs. The decision to export the missile systems was taken at a Cabinet meeting presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Informing the public about the Cabinet decision, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted, “Under the #AtmaNirbharBharat, India is growing in its capabilities of manufacturing a wide variety of Defence platforms & missiles. The Cabinet chaired by PM @narendramodi ji today approved the export of Akash Missile System and a Committee for faster approvals has been created.”
“The export of big platforms was minimal. This decision by the Cabinet would help the country improve its defence products and make them globally competitive,” the defence minister said. Singh also said that the government intends to focus on exporting high-value defence platforms with an aim to achieve a target of USD 5 billion in defence exports and improve strategic relations with friendly foreign countries.
In May, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman rolled out a number of reform measures for the defence sector including making separate budgetary outlay to procure Indian-made military hardware, increasing FDI limit from 49 per cent to 74 per cent under the automatic route and generating a year-wise negative list of weapons which won’t be imported. In August, Rajnath Singh had announced that India will stop the import of 101 weapons and military platforms like transport aircraft, light combat helicopters, conventional submarines, cruise missiles and sonar systems by 2024.