India's defence exports have increased eight times in the last five years and a target of $5 billion has been set for exports, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday, after inaugurating the DefExpo at Gandhinagar.

Growing exports

Insisting that new India is moving ahead with the mantra of intent, innovation and implementation, PM Modi said in his address that, “our defence exports have grown eight times in the last five years. We are exporting defence materials and equipment to more than 75 countries. In 2021-22, defence exports from India reached $1.59 billion i.e., about ₹13,000 crore. And in the coming time, we have set a target to reach $5 billion i.e., ₹40,000 crore”.

This time, the DefExpo has been restricted to indigenous companies and foreign manufacturers who have joint ventures with Indian entities. Modi also used the opportunity to announce two more lists of equipment which would be procured only within the country. After the list, there will be 411 such defence equipment which will be bought under the ‘Make in India’ scheme, he pointed out.

The world, according to Modi, is relying on India's technology due to the fact that India's armies have proved their capabilities. He gave the example of Indian Navy which inducted state-of-the-art aircraft carrier, INS-Vikrant, developed and designed by the Navy and Cochin Shipyard Limited, into its fleet. Similarly, he pointed out that the Air Force has inducted ‘Prachand’ Light Combat Helicopters developed under ‘Make in India’ which shows the indigenous defence capability.

Scaling investments

Speaking on investment opportunities in the defence sector, the Prime Minister informed that India is building two defence corridors in UP and Tamil Nadu and many big companies of the world are coming to invest in India. “Investments of such scale in this sector will generate huge employment opportunities for the youth in those areas”, Modi added.

Modi also talked about India hosting the DefExpo, the second Indian Ocean Region plus (IOR+) Conclave and the India-Africa Defence Dialogue to secure its maritime interest against the aggressive positioning by the China and push defence exports.

“Today, from international security to global trade, maritime security has emerged as a global priority. The role of the merchant navy has also expanded in the era of globalisation. The world's expectations from India have increased, and I assure the world community that India will fulfil them. Therefore, this Defence Expo is also a symbol of global trust towards India,” he stated.

New in the game

He also unveiled the HTT-40 indigenous trainer aircraft designed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at the India Pavilion which would be also used for aerobatics, instrument flying and close formation flights, said HAL officials. The aircraft, that has state-of-the-art contemporary systems and pilot-friendly features, will perform secondary roles including for navigation and night flying. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Bhupendrabhai Patel, Chief Minister of Gujarat, were present on the occasion.

PM inaugurated the India pavilion which showcased the country’s indigenous capabilities of defence products, technology amd services. The pavilion included products and solutions that were made by MSMEs to large private and public sector enterprises.