The head of India’s biggest weapons agency says that the country will soon be ready to export indigenously developed ballistic and cruise missiles.
“We are discussing the methodology and policy mechanism for the export of indigenously designed weapon systems,” Avinash Chander, head of the Defense Research and Development Organization told the Press Trust of India in recent days.
Locally developed weapons that could be exported at competitive prices include the nonstrategic Prahar ballistic missile, the surface-to-air Akash missile and the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile, which was jointly developed with Russia, he said, according to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly.
Chander asserted that India’s lower production costs would allow it to compete with China in offering medium-range ballistic missiles for sale to Saudi Arabia.
Not everyone is so optimistic about India’s weapons export prospects. “The DRDO’s declarations on exporting defense equipment are nothing but wishful thinking,” said procurement specialist retired Maj.Gen Mrinal Suman in an interview with Jane’s. “Unable to even remotely meet local needs, all talk about exports is laughable.”
Thus far, India has not been a major weapons exporter, but the recent development of more advanced systems, such as the supersonic Brahmos missile has had India moving more confidently in recent years in displaying its wares at defense shows, according to Jane’s.
Chander said multiple nations were interested in importing the multipurpose Akash missile. The DRDO chief, though, declined to name any prospective customers.
India is not a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime though it is campaigning for membership.