Indian-made OPVs are already guarding Mauritian waters and it is in the process of finalising sale of warships to Vietnam, which has also shown keen interest in buying the BrahMos, the supersonic cruise missile from India. Other than Vietnam, the countries looking at India for exports in defence equipment include Mauritius, Bangladesh, Philippines, Afghanistan and Oman. The United Kingdom (UK) is also looking at developing its defence technology in India for joint exports from India, thus also using the Indian talent and boosting the Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. Furthermore, India and Spain too have decided to widen their defence partnership.
Most recently, exchanges between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) came to the forefront when India showed interest in assisting the latter in developing its air defence system and repairing defence equipment to enhance its life cycle, besides providing offshore patrol vehicles, as the Gulf nation hopes to expand ties beyond its traditional partner Pakistan.
“Air defence is an area where India can assist the UAE given the new found expertise that India is building on,” Ananta Centre, a leading Indian public policy forum said in a comprehensive report on India-UAE ties.
The increase in Indian exports has also been pushed by increased production of the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) and the Defence Public Sector Units (DPSUs). In the last two years, productions in the OFB and DPSUs have shot up by over 25 pc.
It is impressive to watch India’s progress and see how far it has come after its debut in the world defence market with the export of Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) assault rifles to Oman and Nepal. Although this first deal had its share of loopholes and drawbacks, India has outperformed itself in terms of both manufacturing and managing its weapons and their exports.