The Narendra Modi government has asked the defence forces to compile a list of obsolete military equipment and weapon systems so that it can be refurbished and can be gifted to friendly countries, reported IE. The government seeks to take this initiative to boost the defence cooperation among its friendly nation-states. This move by the Government of India will also be creating a foundational base to the defence export ambitions under the Make in India initiative.
It was also reported that the senior officials in the army and the air force were surprised by the government’s move to gift the equipment to other countries. This is because the defence forces are still using equipment that could be classified as obsolete due to lack of funds. However, the defence forces are looking at dispensing some helicopters, radar systems, artillery guns, naval patrol vehicles that nearing obsolescence, the report added.
India has been a defence exporter to Nepal, Afghanistan, Oman, Malaysia, Vietnam and also to U.K, Israel and Russia. India has exported its INSAS rifles to Oman and Nepal. It has also exported HAL Druv to Mauritius, Nepal and Ecuador and also sold Cheetal, Mi-24 and Mi-35 helicopters to Afghanistan. It was reported that continuous defence ties and bilateral agreements between India and several other nations from the Indian Ocean Region, Central Asia and some from Africa had expressed the desire to procure second-hand weapon systems and military equipment as a gift from India.
The Government of India, by catering to the requirements of these countries, would not just strengthen its strategic ties with them, but would also create a market for exporting its newly produced defence products. The report also said this move by the government will also ensure long-lasting partnership through not just exporting of arms and weapon systems, but by also carrying out officer training camps and special courses for them in India.
A few days earlier, the lack of funds to buy new weapon systems was raised in the Army Commanders Conference. The army also listed out ammunition and spares that it cannot afford to procure despite the fact that the existing power of the arsenal would not be enough for even 10 days of a war.
Despite, the Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Sarath Chand terming, 65% of arms with India to be in ‘vintage category’, the army has had no choice but to go ahead with the existing budget. It was also reported that some officials from the army were surprised as the defence forces were finding it difficult to manage with the existing resources and that the preparation of the list of equipment to be gifted to other countries was being carried out by the government.