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Nod for export of missile systems to friendly nations: Parrikar

BENGALURU (PTI): The Indian Government has decided in principle to allow export of missile systems to 'certain' countries who have friendly relationship with India, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said.

"The government had taken a very conscious decision about 4-5 months ago that 10 per cent of the missile capacity will be permitted to be exported if producers manage to get export orders subject to parameters set by the Union Government and External Affairs Ministry," he told reporters in Bengaluru on June 17.

Policy of export was always existing earlier, but the problem was lack of spare capacity after meeting requirement of the country's armed forces, he said, adding that the production capacity for various missile systems like 'Akash' had been improved now.

"In-principle, decision has been taken to allow exports to certain countries who are in friendly relationship with us...

if they manage to export, then we would enhance the capacity by 10 per cent so that the forces are not deprived," he said.

Parrikar, who was in Bengaluru for the inaugural flight of indigenous basic trainer aircraft Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40), was responding to a question on export policy.

On possible export of BRAHMOS missiles to Vietnam, which he had visited earlier this month, he said the Southeast Asian country had expressed interest and a group would be set up to discuss about their requirement.

About Rafale fighter plane deal, the Defence Minister said discussion between both sides had concluded and he was waiting for a report from the Indian team which had held negotiations.

"....may be next week I should receive their report, once the report is received, the Ministry will analyse it and then it will go to the government," he said.

The deal was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April last year during his visit to France when he said India would purchase 36 Rafales in a government-to-government contract.

To a question about the delay, he said "...I think we are now fast coming to a conclusion."

Asked about the standby, if the deal does not come through, Parrikar said: "I don't think you should see it from the negative side, because it is a declaration by two governments and we have signed in principle memorandum also."

Noting that finalization of the deal was not very far, he said "we waited almost 14-15 years for acquisition.

"This is not a big time if you is a big purchase we have to be careful."

On Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Parrikar said the squadron should be formed by July. "These are replacements for MiG-27... next year I think two MiG-21 squadrons are being decommissioned; this will go into initially replacing them.

"They (LCA) are ten times better than the MiGs which are old and parts are difficult to get," he added.

On US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), Parrikar said "we are on the final stages of agreeing to aircraft carrier technology."

He said: "The engine, there is reservation, because the percentage of TOT (transfer of technology) is not to our liking, so we are discussing about it. There are many more projects which are there..."

Responding to a question, Parrikar said Aero India air show will be held next year in Bengaluru.

His reply assumes significance as there were reports earlier that the show, being held once in two years here, might be shifted to Parrikar's home state of Goa.


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