Indian defence firm Kalyani Strategic Systems Limited has won an export order worth $155.5 million for supplying artillery guns to a friendly country, the first order won by a local company for the 155mm weapon system, people familiar with the development said on Wednesday.
The company has neither revealed the name of the foreign customer nor the number of guns to be delivered. “This order, to a non-conflict zone, is a great testament to the government’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) agenda and its sustained push to promote exports of indigenously designed developed and manufactured (IDDM) advanced defence platforms from India,” the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
Kalyani Strategic Systems will execute the order over the next three years. The firm was in talks with Saudi Arabia for the possible sale of its Bharat 52 155mm/52-calibre artillery gun, HT has learnt.
The development comes when India has sharpened its focus on getting a toehold in foreign markets, set a target of achieving defence exports worth $5 billion by 2025, and taken a raft of policy measures to boost the indigenous defence manufacturing sector. It also comes on the back of the Philippines ordering BrahMos missiles and Armenia choosing to buy Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers from India.
India has clocked defence exports worth ₹30,000 crore since 2014 after the Narendra Modi government came to power, with the first six months of the current financial year alone accounting for export orders worth ₹8,000 crore, officials said. India’s defence exports reached their highest level in 2021-22, with the figure hitting ₹13,000-crore mark and the private sector accounting for 70% of the exports, an outcome of the government’s policies to boost the export of military hardware to friendly foreign countries.
Military hardware being exported by India include missiles, the advanced light helicopter, offshore patrol vessels, personal protective gear, surveillance systems, and a variety of radars, the officials said.
In January, India’s BrahMos Aerospace and the Philippines signed a deal worth almost $375 million for the Philippine Marines to acquire three batteries of the BrahMos cruise missile, a shot in the arm for New Delhi’s efforts to emerge as an exporter of major defence hardware.
The military hardware that holds export potential includes the light combat aircraft, Astra beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile, Akash surface-to-air missile system, tanks, sonars, and radars.
India has also imposed a phased import ban on 411 different weapons and systems during the last two years to provide a boost to the indigenous defence manufacturing sector. These weapons and platforms are expected to be indigenised in phases over the next five to six years.
In December 2020, the Union Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister, gave its go-ahead to the sale of Akash missile systems to friendly foreign countries, and also created a high-powered panel for swifter approval of defence exports.
“India has a good strategy and action plan in place, backed by forward-looking policies, to ensure self-reliance in defence, and boost the country’s status as a net exporter of weapons in the coming years,” military affairs expert Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia (retd) had earlier said.
The government granted close to a thousand export authorisations last year, nearly four times the number approved five years before that, and cut down the time for such approvals by a third between 2017 and 2021.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh earlier asked the Indian defence industry to step forward and manufacture modern and cost-effective defence products to realise the government’s vision of a ‘New India’ that can not only meets its own needs but also fulfill the requirements of other countries.