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Step up efforts to boost defence export: Parliamentary committee to govt

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NEW DELHI (PTI):  A parliamentary standing committee has complimented the government for concluding a contract with the Philippines for the supply of BRAHMOS missiles and recommended that it should step up efforts to secure more export orders for indigenously developed military platforms.

In January, India sealed the USD 375 million contract with the Philippines to supply three batteries of the BRAHMOS shore-based anti-ship missile systems.

The Standing Committee on Defence in its 29th report also expressed happiness over the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) completing the phase-I of the Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system, describing it as "extremely crucial" from the point of view of national defence.

Referring to Tejas light combat aircraft, the committee recommended that more efforts should be made so that the "improved and lethal" versions of it is introduced in near future.

"The committee were pleased to note that a contract has been signed with the Philippines for the supply of coastal launched BRAHMOS missile system," it said.

In a report tabled in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, the committee said efforts should be made to enhance the export potential of platforms developed by the DRDO to tap huge global market.

The committee is headed by Jual Oram it comprises around 30 lawmakers including Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and NCP leader Sharad Pawar.

It said the defence ministry should work in close coordination with the ministry of commerce and ministry of external affairs to secure more export orders.

"The role of military attache, posted with Indian Missions abroad need to be revisited, redefined eventually making them more responsive and pro-active in this regard," it said.

On Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT), the committee found that the issue of provision of missiles is still pending with regard to the platform.

"The committee understand that without proper missile ammunitions, firing capability of the tank shall not be able to serve the Army effectively. The committee desire that the DRDO shall come up with solutions for the speedy provisioning of the missile for Arjun MBT," it said.

The committee also expressed happiness over the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) getting orders for the production of 83 Tejas.

"The committee recommend that more efforts should be made so that the improved and lethal versions of LCA Tejas is introduced in near future," it said.

"At the same time the Committee would also recommend that HAL must keep itself abreast with the requirements of the market segments in this regard internationally so that once the stage comes it may be in a position to manufacture the aircraft for exports to friendly countries," it added.

The committee also noted that the authourised strength of scientists in the DRDO is 7773 whilst the existing strength is 6965.

"There is a shortfall of 808 scientists which is slightly more than 10 per cent of the sanctioned strength," it said.

The committee recommended that the recruitment process of scientists should be expedited and completed at the earliest so that young talent gets the opportunity to serve in defence research.

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