In a move to export big-ticket weapon platforms, the Indian government today approved the exports of its highly successful Akash missile system to friendly countries. This is just an in-principle approval of the missile system and the actual exports of the system will require modalities of exports to be laid out.
As per the Indian government release, “after its induction in the Services, interest is shown in Akash missile by many friendly countries during International Exhibitions / Def Expo / Aero India. The Cabinet approval will facilitate Indian manufactures to participate in RFI / RFP issued by various countries.”
The government release also states that there will be an export version of Akash Missile. “The export version of Akash will be different from System currently deployed with Indian Armed Forces,” states the release.
“The Government of India intends to focus on exporting high-value defence platforms, to achieve the target of 5 Billion USD of defence export and improve strategic relations with friendly foreign countries,” said tweeted Defence Minister Rajnath Singh soon after the cabinet approval.
Padma Shri Dr Prahlada Ramarao, the man behind the Akash Missile said: “The government should appoint an experienced expert committee to liaise with the stakeholders to decide on the export version and modalities of export of Akash missile.”
It is not clear if the exports will be handled by the Ministry of Defence or private sector companies. Parts of the Akash Missile system is produced by many Defence public sector units (DPSU) and private sector companies. Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) is the manufacturer of Akash Missile, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) produces the electronic parts and the Larsen & Tubro (L&T) produces the Akash SAM Launcher.
In addition to Akash SAM, “there is interest coming in other major platforms like Coastal Surveillance System, Radars and Air platforms. To provide faster approvals for export of such platforms, a Committee comprising of Raksha Mantri (Defence Minister), External Affairs Minister and National Security Advisor has been created. This Committee would authorise subsequent exports of major indigenous platforms to various countries. The Committee would also explore various available options including the Government-to-Government route,” adds the government release.