Advancing defense technology exports through India-Russia Synergy

Over the past ten years, India has experienced a dramatic 35-fold increase in its defense exports and aims to boost these numbers even further.

India and Russia have a history of collaboration in manufacturing, including notable projects like the production of the MiG-21 jet fighter, leading to significant exports in defense technology. This partnership has greatly benefitted India’s defense industry both in terms of scale and market value.

Over the past ten years, India has experienced a dramatic 35-fold increase in its defense exports and aims to boost these numbers even further.

At a recent political rally in Ahmedabad, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh pointed out these achievements.

Indian Defense Minister highlighted that defense exports have grown significantly, from  Rupees 600 Crores ($72 million) in 2014 to over Rupees 21,000 Crores (more than $2.5 billion) today, and he expects this trend to continue. He also noted that India’s defense production has now surpassed 1 trillion INR ($12 billion).

Boosting India’s Global Standing: Expanding Defense Exports

Retired Major General Jagitbir Singh, a distinguished fellow at the United Service Institution of India (USI), stated that India’s efforts to boost exports offer numerous advantages, such as essential foreign exchange gains, according to a report by Sputnik, a Russian media outlet.

He further explained that exporting weapons lets other nations employ Indian weapon systems more extensively than just for trials, offering invaluable operational feedback.

This feedback is crucial as it helps in improving and upgrading the equipment according to the practical experiences and insights from the users, Singh noted.

Singh highlighted that exporting to different countries requires adherence to specific quality and technological standards, showcasing India’s ability to manufacture equipment that meets international benchmarks.

India-Russia Defense Collaboration:

India and Russia began their manufacturing partnership by developing various stages of production together. Initially, Russia provided the necessary technology and designs, an early success being the manufacture of the MiG-21 jet fighter—a technology Russia hadn’t even shared with China,” Singh stated.

He further explained, “With the technology transfer, India started producing the MiG-21, laying the foundation for our collaboration. This expanded into joint ventures, such as assembling various MiG aircraft variants at the HAL facility in Bangalore.”

“Likewise, tanks and BMPs [infantry fighting vehicles] were initially assembled from completely knocked down (CKD) kits, transitioning to semi-knocked down (SKD) kits, and ultimately reaching full production within India,” added Singh.

Singh detailed how the collaboration between India and Russia evolved beyond assembly into joint design and research, leading to significant advancements in sophisticated systems.

He noted, “Our combined efforts have paid off, with our jointly developed BrahMos missile being exported to several countries including the Philippines, and attracting interest from Middle Eastern nations such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Armenia, and the UAE.”

Singh emphasized that this progress represents a significant achievement for both nations, highlighting the substantial benefits of their joint manufacturing initiatives.

“Through our collaborative efforts in research, design, and development, we have established a top-tier defense export. This marks a crucial milestone for India’s defense industry in both scale and value,” he added.

(Views expressed in the article are of author’s own and do not reflect the editorial stance of Business Upturn)