India — the world’s largest importer of defence equipment — seems to be emulating China after it clocked multi-fold growth exporting defence equipment in the last three years. Ministry of Defence officials attending the Vibrant Gujarat Summit on Friday said that India is all set to cross Rs 10,000 crore of defence equipment exports by the end of March this year.
“About 15 years ago, China was the largest importer of arms and ammunition and now they are the third largest exporter of arms. We have a dubious distinction of being the largest importer. Can we turn it around? Can we follow the footsteps of China,” asked Ajay Kumar, secretary, Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence, while delivering the keynote address at the “Opportunities for Industry in Defence and Aerospace””seminar at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.
According to him, the steps taken by the Indian government is helping India bring a shift. “Indian industry is doubling defence exports from the country for the last three years. About three years ago, the exports were just Rs 1,500 crore. Last year that figure reached Rs 4,500 crore, and this year by November end we have clocked Rs 7,500 crore, and by end of March 2019, we will cross the Rs 10000 crore mark,” Kumar said.
“I doubt if Indian industry sells, Rs 10,000 cr worth of equipment to the Indian defence forces. This silent change is happening because we are looking at larger market,” he added.
The secretary also informed the gathering that India has received Rs 4,000 crore of Foreign Direct Investment in the defence sector.