By Sankalan Chattopadhyay
Recently, India achieved a milestone in defence sector when a Vietnamese source at the VTV1 channel claimed that India is set to transfer Sky (Akash) Missile technology to Vietnam and also to export BrahMos. This is indeed a proud moment for India. India just put her foot forward and entered the list of major weapon selling countries.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in 2016 said that the government would take into account strategic concerns while forging partnerships in the critical sector of weapon relations. They would set a target to raise India’s defence exports to two billion dollars in two years from the current three hundred and thirty million dollars.
Mr. Parrikar took “a dig at defence players who were objecting to proposed strategic partnerships.”
“After the windows have been well defined, (some) people, who have realised they would not be able to go through the window, have started canvassing that the defence ministry is facing problems over strategic partnerships,” he said.
Former Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief V.K. Aatre in 2016 submitted a report to the Defence Ministry recommending guidelines for selecting domestic private firms for such partnerships.
Mr. Parrikar said that the government is pushing for defence exports and plans to export the Tejas fighter aircraft as well.
“I know it is not easy. Weapons and export of defence goods have double problems. One is whom you are exporting to and the second is one has to go on checking all international requirements,” he said in 2016 to news media outlet.India joins the major countries to trade in weapons. | Photo Courtesy: Mensxp
A history of Indian weapons export
[su_pullquote align=”right”]India has provided military assistance to friendly nations by providing them with military trucks, SUVs, ambulances etc. India has supplied a lot of nations with naval vessels.[/su_pullquote]
India made her debut in the world defence market when she exported INSAS assault rifles to Oman and Nepal. However, that soon turned into – it can’t exactly be called embarrassing – but an uneasy moment when both the countries expressed discontentment about the rifles. Nepal also made INSAS responsible for high casualties among Nepalese Army during operation against Maoists. However, India has able to forget those dark days.
According to a recent report India exported defence equipment to 22 countries, including to the US, UK, Israel, Russia in 2015. HAL Druv has also been exported to Ecuador, Nepal, Mauritius and even Israel.
India exported forging equipment, electronic assemblies, flight control panels to the US, it sold transmitting tubes to the UK, and MIG and Sukhoi 30 aircraft spares and services to Russia, supplied Cheetal, Mi-24 and Mi-35 helicopters to Afghanistan. Sukhoi 30 avionics and MIG spares have been supplied to Malaysia. Another major achievement is to supply Jaguar aircraft spares and services to Oman. India has provided military assistance to friendly nations by providing them with military trucks, SUVs, ambulances etc. India has supplied a lot of nations with naval vessels.
But the selling of Akash with tot and BrahMos has put India a new league. These are weapon systems that can wreak havoc on any enemy.
The use of these new weapons
BrahMos, which is a cruise missile, mainly designed for an anti-ship role, can travel at Mach 3 speed (cruise phase). With such a huge speed, a missile, which would be carrying a 200 kg warhead, flying a few meters above sea level becomes extremely difficult to shoot down, almost a death warrant for the Chinese Navy. If the Vietnamese Navy fires multiple such warheads then the Chinese Navy will need to use multiple air defence systems, and those have to be lucky to shoot down BrahMos.
Akash is a short range surface to air missile, capable enough to take out UAVS, helicopters and fighter jets (though the Chinese can attack out of the range easily, Akash will add an additional air defence wall with medium or long range air defence systems).The Arjun Mk 2. | Photo Courtesy: Defense Update
These are highly sophisticated weapon systems. This may pave the way for selling more such weapons. Tejas can easily be used light combat. LCH can easily be used as a lighter version of Apache. NAG is one of the best ATGM in the world, capable of giving a huge blow to even world’s best MBTs. Pragati is already in the export list. Kestrel can attract customers interested in APC. The Arjun tank easily can be pitched to those nations who want a heavy tank like Abrams, Challenger or Leopord but do not have the financial support to facilitate the purchase. Arjun Mk 2 can do everything that the Leo 2A5 can. India has made huge progress in case of navy ships, radars and electronic equipment. Possibly, all of these, are going to be seen in service with other nations in near future.
[su_pullquote]India has made huge progress in case of navy ships, radars and electronic equipment. Possibly, all of these, are going to be seen in service with other nations in near future.[/su_pullquote]
“The government has simplified and streamlined the no objection certificate (NoC) processes to encourage Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and private sector companies to apply for export orders. The Indian domestic defence industry has been lobbying with the MoD to help them explore international markets and also wants to avail the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) labs and other state-run facilities for R&D, testing and making prototypes,” was reported in the news.
MoD is co working with the ministry of external affairs (MEA) to explore new avenues for export.
Soon India will be in the list of countries which can supply the highest quality weapons. The selling of weapons to Vietnam may be a small step… but it is definitely a huge leap towards future.
Sankalan Chattopadhyay is a student in Calcutta, and a defense enthusiast.
This article was originally published on Rightlog.in.
Feature Image Courtesy: Sputnik International
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