India today received its first-ever export order for BrahMos missiles. BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited (BAPL) signed a contract with the Department of National Defense of the Republic of the Philippines on January 28 for the supply of an undisclosed number of land-based anti-ship missile systems to the Philippines. BAPL is a Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) joint venture that produces the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. These missiles can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft and land platforms. The contract is an important step forward for the Indian government’s defense export promotion policy.
The agreement with the Philippines could open the door to further sales of the BrahMos, which has a range of 290 km and can carry a 200 kg warhead to other Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and the United States. Indonesia, which have entered into negotiations for the weapon. system for several years.
It is possible that BrahMos led the way in high-value arms exports. The sale of BrahMos missiles to the Philippines is seen as a shift in India’s quest to become a credible defense exporter. This is the first major military weapons platform export order. So far, India’s defense exports have been items such as avionics, coastal surveillance systems, spare parts for radars, personal protective items, offshore patrol vessels, advanced light helicopters (ALH) and electronic systems.
According to the Ministry of Defense (MoD), policy changes have led to an increase in defense exports of more than 325% over the past five years. India has set an ambitious target of achieving defense exports of $5 billion (Rs 35,000 crore) by 2024-25. The country exported defense equipment which was worth Rs. 8,434.84 crores in 2020-21. In 2016-17, India’s total defense exports were only Rs 1,500 crore. In 2017-18, the figure reached Rs. 4,500 crores.
India is now mentioned in the tables ranking the main arms exporting countries. Currently, India exports defense equipment to around 70 countries. According to the 2020 report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Global Defense Think Tank, India is on the list of top 25 defense exporting countries. According to SIPRI, India accounted for 0.2% of the world’s arms export share between 2016 and 2020, making the country the world’s 24th largest exporter of major arms. This represents a 228% increase from India’s export share of 0.1% in the previous five-year period 2011-2015. According to the report, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Mauritius were the main recipients of Indian military equipment.
The Indian defense industry is currently in a tectonic phase. Given the policy changes over the past five years, the next decade will reverse the trend. Current policymakers believe that the defense industry’s goal of $5 billion in exports by 2024 is not impossible to achieve. The government’s willingness to offer a line of credit to targeted friendly foreign countries provides unprecedented opportunities for the national defense sector to expand its exports.
By Ravi Shankar