The Ministry of Defense seems to be in denial about the many obstacles that India has in its efforts to become a significant exporter of homegrown military platforms and various equipment.

The list of India’s top defense exports is remarkable, but the majority of this gear is of relatively low value, and demand for it is by no means high enough to guarantee consistent and significant income.

Even if this gives Indian manufacturers a chance to integrate themselves with global supply chains, it is a commercial reality that India cannot become a significant exporter of weaponry and defense equipment only by exporting ancillary goods.

What is the present situation?

India ranked as the 23rd-largest arms exporter globally as of 2021. In comparison to the top 10 contributors, India’s market share for defense exports is quite low at 0.2%.

The first significant export of defense equipment from India is the BrahMos contract with the Philippines, valued at Rs. 2800 crores. This agreement marks a significant turning point in India’s relations with the Indo-Pacific region.

Also, in the 2022–23 defense budget, the private sector, startups, and universities were given access to 25% of the R&D money. This gives Atmanirbhar Bharat a major boost in the defense industry at home and opens doors for it. Therefore, this can result in a rise in Indian defense exports. Furthermore, India plans to sell defense products worth Rs. 35,000 crores by 2025.

What extra needs to be done?

India must produce high-tech weaponry at cheap prices to compete with the greatest defense exporters in the world.

Leading defense exporters frequently sign lifetime maintenance support agreements with the countries that buy their equipment. India ought to enter into similar contracts as well to rival the largest defense exporters.

Moreover, to significantly enhance defense exports, India should work on striking deals with the top arms buyers, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Australia.

Also, India needs to work on building confidence because it is necessary for the market for defense imports. To increase dependability, we need close the gaps.

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