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India will see a tremendous increase in defense exports in the next 4-5 years: DRDO chairman

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There will be tremendous increase in defense exports from India in the next four to five years, chairman of the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) G Satheesh Reddy said on Thursday.

“Within next 4-5 years, this country will have a lot of indigenous content in the Indian armed forces and we will be seeing tremendous amount of increase in exports,” he said at a webinar organised by industry body CII.

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Reddy enlisted a number of measures the government and the DRDO have taken to boost the participation of private defence industry.

“In each project of ours, we have invited development and production partner from the industry. Even critical systems like missiles have been opened to the private industry,” he said.

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Recently, the government has approved the export of Akash missiles to various countries, he mentioned.

On December 30, 2020, the government had approved the export of indigenously-developed surface-to-air Akash missile system and set up a panel to ensure faster approvals for acquisition proposals by various countries.

Reddy said a country is “real atmanirbhar (self-reliant)” when the design, development and production of state-of-the-art systems that are required by the armed forces are done within the country.

India is one the largest importers of arms globally. According to estimates, the Indian armed forces are projected to spend around USD 130 billion in capital procurement in the next five years.

However, the government now wants to reduce dependence on imported military platforms and decided to support the domestic defence manufacturing.

The defence ministry has already set a goal of a turnover of USD 25 billion (Rs 1.75 lakh crore) in defence manufacturing in the next five years that included an export target of USD 5 billion (Rs 35,000 crore) worth of military hardware.

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