Govt okays export of Akash missiles, forms panel for expediting such deals

The Cabinet has approved the export of the system, a surface to air missile with a range of 25 km. The Cabinet has also created a committee comprising the defence minister and others to provide faster approval for the export of other defence platforms.

The Cabinet approval will facilitate Indian manufactures to participate in request for information (RFI) or request for proposal (RFP) issued by various countries.

The missile was inducted in the Indian Air Force in 2014 and in the Indian Army in 2015.

After its induction in the services, interest was shown in the missile by many countries during international exhibitions, defence expos and Aero India.

So far, Indian defence exports included parts, components etc and the export of big platforms was minimal. This initiative of the Cabinet would help the country improve its defence products and make them globally competitive, an official statement said.

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The export version of Akash will be different from the system currently deployed with the armed forces, it said.

Apart from Akash, there is interest coming in for other major platforms like coastal surveillance systems, radars and air platforms.

To provide faster approvals for the export of such platforms, a committee comprising the defence minister, the external affairs minister and the security advisor has been created.

This committee would authorise subsequent exports of major indigenous platforms to various countries. The committee would also explore various available options including the government-to-government route.

The government intends to focus on exporting high value defence platforms to achieve a target of $ five billion worth of defence exports and improve strategic relations with friendly foreign countries, the statement said.

Other decision:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs cleared a Rs 3,004.63 crore project to handle cape size vessels at Paradip port.

The project — Deepening and Optimization of Inner Harbour Facilities — includes the development of western dock on build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode.

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