On 1 April 2023, India’s Ministry of Defence reported a significant milestone in defence exports for the 2022-2023 financial year.
Exports reached an all-time high of $1.9bn, almost $364m more than the previous financial year. This represents a tenfold increase since the 2016-2017 financial year.
India has expanded its export market to more than 85 countries, with 100 firms currently exporting defence products.
Cross-domain export production
In the past eight years, the country has turned from a net importer to a major global producer of various platforms, including the Dornier-228, 155mm Advanced Towed artillery guns (ATAGs), Brahmos missiles, Akash missile systems, mine-protected and armoured vehicles, and PINAKA rockets and launchers.
India boasts a thriving export industry in various defence-production lines such as ammunition, thermal imagers, body armour, radars, simulators, line replaceable units, and components for avionics and small arms.
The demand for Indian-produced supplies of LCA-Tejas, Light Combat Helicopters, Aircraft Carrier, and associated MRO activities is also on the rise worldwide.
Export policy initiatives
To boost defence exports, the Indian Government has made a number of policy initiatives and brought reforms over the last six years. The export process has undergone a simplification, making it more industry friendly. The introduction of end-to-end online export authorisation has reduced delays and streamlined business processes. The government has notarised three open general export licences (OGEL) for the export of components and transfer of technology, as well as to provide major platforms and equipment.
The OGEL is a crucial tool for the industry, allowing for the one-off export of designated items to predetermined destinations without the need for additional export authorisation during the OGEL’s validity period.
Indian defence exporters are promptly notified of export deals through an online portal in real time, allowing for swift action to be taken in response to these opportunities. Indian Missions regularly hold reviews abroad to promote Indian defence products and facilitate the national industry. Additionally, more than 40 webinars have been organised with foreign countries to encourage the involvement of industry associations.
‘Make in India’ wins support
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to express his admiration for the domestic manufacturing industry, citing the recent achievement as a clear manifestation of the country’s talent and enthusiasm. The current developments in this sector indicate that the reforms implemented in the past few years have yielded positive outcomes. According to Modi’s statement, the government has pledged to continue its support towards the initiatives aimed at transforming India into a hub for defence production.
India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also posted to Twitter to commend the country’s record-breaking defence exports, hailing it as a remarkable accomplishment. He predicted that defence exports are expected to experience exponential growth under the current leadership.