The Union Cabinet Wednesday approved export of the Akash surface-to-air missile to “friendly countries” and constituted a committee, headed by the Defence Minister, for faster approval of export of defence platforms.
The export version of Akash, an official statement said, will be different from the system currently deployed with the Indian armed forces. The Akash SAM, with a range of 25 km, was inducted into the IAF in 2014 and in the Indian Army in 2015.
According to the official statement, Akash is an important missile of the country with over 96 per cent indigenisation. Following its induction in the armed forces, many friendly countries, the statement said, showed interest in Akash during international exhibitions, DefExpo, Aero India.
The Cabinet approval will facilitate Indian manufactures to participate in RFI/RFP issued by various countries. “So far, Indian defence exports included parts/components etc. The export of big platforms was minimal. This initiative of the Cabinet would help the country improve its defence products and make them globally competitive,” the statement said.
“Under Atma Nirbhar Bharat, India is growing in its capabilities of manufacturing a wide variety of defence platforms and missiles,” it said.
Besides Akash, there is interest in other major platforms like the coastal surveillance system, radars and air platforms. “To provide faster approvals for export of such platforms, a Committee comprising Raksha Mantri, External Affairs Minister and National Security Advisor has been created.”
This committee, the statement said, would authorise subsequent export of major indigenous platforms to various countries. The committee would also explore available options including the Government-to-Government route.
“Government of India intends to focus on exporting high value defence platforms, to achieve the target of 5 Billion USD of defence export and improve strategic relations with friendly foreign countries,” it said.