New Delhi: In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s directive to increase exports, the centre is carrying out a major change in their deployments as they would be posted to countries where they can help in expanding domestic defence exports. The Department of Military Affairs and the Department of Defence are carrying out this reform soon after the Prime Minister discussed the ways of increasing defence exports from the country at the combined commanders’ conference.
“The military or the defence attaches will now be deployed in countries where they can mainly help in increasing defence exports of the country including products from both the public sector and the private sector,” senior defence officials said.
This would also lead to a reduction of military officers posted in countries from where India has been importing military hardware traditionally, they said. “At a time when we have stopped importing weapon systems from abroad and are insisting on production in India under the Make in India scheme, there is no point in maintaining a significant number of attaches in countries which have been exporting weapon systems to us,” they said.
India has put a virtual ban on imports and is buying only highly essential equipment from external sources and insisting on make in India. The officials said that while posting these officers, the focus would be on countries in Africa, Middle East along with the friendly nations in south-east Asia which have shown interest in Indian equipment like the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles. A number of Indian public sector units have also opened offices to support the Armenian military to help increase exports.
Officials said that the government is also going to allow the attaches to promote the sale of hardware manufactured by the private sector of the country. The officials said when Western countries promote the sale of their hardware in India or other countries, their military personnel accompany their sales teams to make the pitch as it is in their national interest and the same can be followed here as well. Indian side feels that the military hardware produced by it can find buyers in Africa or South East Asian countries who are looking at a constant supply at reasonable and affordable cost.
The DMA led by Chief of Defence Staff Gen Anil Chauhan has been working towards increasing the defence exports along with reducing the import in the defence sector. The DMA has already issued a negative list for imports and over 400 items are there in that.
India in the recent past has junked many import deals and put them on hold like the plan to buy 33 fighter aircraft from Russia, buying high calibre guns for the Navy from the US, high altitude long endurance drones and many other items. Relaxations have been given to the forces to import equipment at the highest level only in the defence ministry.
The Department of Defence Production under Defence Secretary Giridhar Armane has envisaged an export target of US$ 5 billion by 2025. They have also been planning to use the defence trachea to achieve the export target as it is felt that they can play a pivotal role as they understand the defence requirements of the respective country and can promote the export of Indian defence products in their respective countries.