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Govt to work on policy framework for missile exports

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BRAHMOS missile during the Republic Day parade. A file photo

HYDERABAD (PTI): Many countries have expressed interest in acquiring missiles developed by India and efforts would soon be made on laying down a policy framework to tap this export potential, according to Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, Avinash Chander.

The export of missiles is a new area that India is exploring, Chander, who is also the Director General of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), said even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pitched for making India self-reliant in manufacturing of defence products and even capable of exports in the sector.

"The new government is also keen on building up the export potential (of defence products). There has been lot of interest shown by many countries on our missiles," he said while delivering a talk at the Aerospace Luminary Lecture Series, organised by Aeronautical Society of India, Hyderabad, on Saturday.

Speaking on board India's largest aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, Modi had on Saturday said, "Not only should we become self-reliant, we also should provide them (defence equipment) to small countries. The small countries should feel secure that they have India-produced defence equipment."

"We have to lay down policy norms and methodologies how to work out (tap export potential of missiles)," said Chander, who also interacted with reporters.

"We are confident we will be soon working on this," he said.

India's Akash and Prahaar missiles can be easily exported, as also the BRAHMOS (developed in a joint venture with Russian) for which a lot of countries have shown interest, he said.

"Our future missiles that we are developing...that will have lot of (export) potential," he pointed out.

DRDO is working on a programme to extend the range of surface-air missile beyond 200 kms, Chander said.

"We need to have ship-launched, sea-launched, air-launched, submarine-launched cruise missiles. India needs supersonic air-launched cruise missiles. India needs hypersonic transportation systems and these are the various segments in which we are operating (working on)," he said.

"Of course, we are working on anti-radiation missiles," he said.

"Our aim is that by 2020, India will be fully autonomous in missile capability. We are covering the entire gamut of needs (in the area of missiles)," Chander said.

Defence production from indigenous sources has gone up in recent years and it's no longer the case that imports account for 70 per cent of the country's defence hardware procurement, he said.

"We have done an assessment. In the last seven years, whatever approval has been given by the government, out of the total...more than 50 per cent are for indigenous procurement.

So, our self-reliance index today is above 50 per cent," he said.

He also underlined the need to keep in mind export thrust and export planning while developing defence products.

"That's what the thrust we are expecting the new government to give us," Chander said.

Brazilian firm Embraer has come forward to have a joint venture company with India to produce advanced early warning aircraft that can be marketed in Latin America, he said. Under the proposal, it would be DRDO's mandate vis-a-vis the electronic suite to be fitted into the Embraer aircraft.

DRDO is also planning to support setting up of centres of excellence in cutting edge technologies such as robotics, advanced propulsions and materials on 5-6 university campuses in the next three-four years, Chander added.

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