South Asia

India aims to increase defense exports to $5b

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday set out ambitions to more than triple annual defense exports to $5 billion over the next two years, as arms firms flocked to a major air show for a slice of the nation’s massive import budget, Reuters reported.

The country is looking to sign defense deals worth 750 billion rupees ($9 billion) at the biennial five-day Aero India event, its biggest ever, as its airlines try to complete jetliner purchases to meet civilian demand and press global aircraft manufacturers to produce more locally, mainly through partnerships.

“I call on India’s private sector to invest more and more in the country’s defense sector,” Modi said in a speech at the show. India exports defense products to 75 countries, he added as quoted by Reuters.

India has been one of the world’s biggest importers of defense equipment for decades, but it has punched below its weight in the global arms export market. New Delhi’s export ambitions are a sign of its growing clout as it uses the leverage of huge imports to attract investment in its domestic industry.