New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the export of the surface-to-air Akash missiles to friendly nations, and created a committee for faster approval of exports or other armaments.
Akash, which has a range of 25 km, has over 96 per cent indigenisation. It was inducted into the Air Force in 2014 and the Army in 2015. India has deployed Akash missiles in Eastern Ladakh to deal with any threat coming from the air from China.
The export version of Akash will be different from the system currently deployed with the Indian forces.
“So far, Indian defence exports included parts or components. The export of big platforms was minimal. This decision by the Cabinet would help the country improve its defence products and make them globally competitive," defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Twitter.
After its induction, many friendly countries showed interest in the Akash missile during international exhibitions. Wednesday’s Cabinet approval will facilitate Indian manufacturers to participate in contracts issued by various countries.
Besides Akash, there is interest in other major platforms like coastal surveillance system, radars and air platforms. To provide faster approval for export of such platforms, a committee comprising the defence minister, the external affairs minister and the National Security Adviser has been created.
This committee would authorise subsequent exports of major indigenous platforms to various countries. The committee would also explore options including the government-to-government route for the export.
The Centre intends to focus on exporting high value defence platforms, to achieve the target of $5 billion of defence export and improve strategic relations with friendly foreign countries.