India to seek supply of radars, missiles by 2018india Updated: Dec 21, 2017 23:41 IST
Surface to air missile AKASH with indigenous seeker, successfully test fired from the Launch Complex-III at ITR Chandipur, Odisha.(PTI File Photo)
India is all set to take a big stride in exports of arms and equipment with the defence ministry in the process of tying up with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Myanmar and Armenia for supply of radars, helicopters and missiles, and tank upgradation by 2018.
South Block sources confirmed deepening of military ties with these countries with high-level delegations interacting with defence ministry and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) units in Bengaluru this month.
For the first time, Saudi Arabia is sending 10 of its nationals for training to become officers at the National Defence Academy (NDA) next year.
The proposed tie-ups assume significance as India is the largest importer of arms in the world but figures nowhere in the list of global arms exporters.
Government sources confirmed that two joint committee meetings have already taken place with Riyadh as the latter is interested in a joint venture to manufacture weapons and equipment in Saudi Arabia.
It is understood that the UAE has also shown interest in purchasing DRDO-developed Astra 70-kilometer range air- to-air missile for its Mirage fighters. The beyond visual range missile has been successfully tested by the Indian Air Force on its Su-30 MKI fighter jet and will be soon integrated for test firing on its Mirage 2000 jets.
While Myanmar wants India to upgrade its T-72 main battle tanks, which the former had purchased from Ukraine, Jordan is interested in buying the Kamov 226 T multi-utility helicopter to be built under India-Russia collaboration. Jordan is also looking at the possibility of buying other hardware manufactured by the DRDO.
On its part, Armenia is interested in purchasing DRDO- manufactured radars for battle-field theatre and long-distance artillery ammunition from India.