New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave an approval for export of the indigenous Akash missile system, intending to achieve target of $5 billion worth of defence export and improve strategic relations with friendly foreign countries.
However, the export version of Akash will be different from the system currently deployed with Indian armed forces.
The defence minister, Rajnath Singh, took to Twitter to announce the development. In a series of tweets, Singh said: “Under the #AtmaNirbharBharat, India is growing in its capabilities of manufacturing wide variety of Defence platforms and missiles.”
Calling the Akash missile as one of India’s important missiles, Singh stressed that it has over 96 per cent indigenous components.
Akash is a surface-to-air missile with a range of 25km.
The missile was inducted into Indian Air Force in 2014 and in the Indian Army in 2015.
After its induction in the services, many friendly countries showed interest on it at international exhibitions, like Def Expo and Aero India.
The Cabinet approval will facilitate Indian manufactures to participate in request for interest and request for purchase issued by various countries, an official statement said.
So far, Indian defence exports included parts and components among others minor things. The export of big platforms was minimal.
The government said the Cabinet’s would help the country to improve its defence products and make them globally competitive.
Besides Akash, the friendly nations have also shown interest in other major indigenous platforms, like the coastal surveillance system, radars and aerial platforms.
To provide faster approvals for export of such platforms, a committee comprising the defence minister, external affairs minister and the national security advisor has been created. This panel would authorize subsequent exports of major indigenous platforms to various countries. It would also explore various available options, including sale of weapon platforms via the government-to-government route.
Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization, Akash is India’s first indigenously designed missile system and can target fighter jets, cruise missiles, drones and other aerial assets.