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India to step up defense exports to $4.8 billion over two years

Defense ministry signs $970 million deals with HAL for Dhruv Mk III advanced light helicopters

India to step up defense exports to $4.8 billion over two years
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

India will step up defense exports to $4.8 billion (₹40,000 crore) over the next two years from about $2 billion currently, Union minister Anurag Thakur said.

India currently has a defense production worth of $10 billion, Thakur said, adding that the government is resolute in increasing its own defensive capabilities.

Thakur, however, said that this is not a time for war but for discussions and deliberations, citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“War is destructive for any country and no country knows this better than India that has been pushed into war four times,” the minister said while speaking at a book launch event in New Delhi.

Pointing to Israel that as a nation has survived under difficult circumstances, Thakur said, that the country had “yet become a shining example of resilience and a country that is a leader in innovation.”

“Having recovered from the horrors of the holocaust after World War-II, today Israel is a country that stands on its own,” he added.

In a related development, India’s ministry of defense signed two contracts worth a combined $970 million with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for 34 advanced light helicopters (ALH) Dhruv Mk III, with 25 for the army and the rest for the Coast Guard.

The army’s ALH Dhruv Mk III UT (utility) are tailored for missions such as search and rescue, troop and cargo transport, and casualty evacuation, excelling in high-altitude areas such as the Siachen Glacier and Ladakh.

The Coast Guard’s maritime role version supports surveillance, search and rescue, and transportation, performing well in challenging sea and land conditions, the government said.

This project involving over 200 small and medium businesses and 70 local vendors for equipment supply and indigenization will boost employment in the sector, aligning with India’s self-reliance goals, it added.

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