New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian Defense Ministry has reiterated that serious negotiations are going on with the countries that have exhibited interest in the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile — an Indo-Russia joint project. Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that India is keen on exporting the missile to friendly nations.
"There is a lot of interest particularly on this missile (BrahMos)… definitely lots of interest. On that, a lot of discussions are also going on. Many things are being discussed within the government and on the other end, with governments which want to buy them. Decision making can sometimes be frustratingly long drawn but the interest is sustained. Sometimes it is the question of the cost being negotiated, but interest on Indian missiles is definitely growing and we are addressing it. We want to able to export it to friendly nations," Nirmala Sitharaman said, replying to a query posed by Jamshyd N. Godrej, CMD of Godrej & Boyce at the annual summit of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) in New Delhi.
Godrej Aerospace, a unit of Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. has been producing airframes for the air-launched version of BrahMos missile.
Presently, BrahMos Aerospace is working on an order worth $7 billion placed by the three services of the Indian Armed Forces. "If exports fructify, then the order for BrahMos missiles can almost double in another five years," Sudhir Kumar Mishra, CEO, BrahMos Aerospace had said last October.
Based on demand for its armed helicopters, naval equipment, missiles including the BrahMos and the Akash air defense system, the Indian Defense Ministry has set an ambitious target of exports to the tune of $5 billion in the next seven years. In the last few years, the state-owned Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) has developed over two dozen platforms, like the Arjun tank, Tejas fighter, airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system, advanced towed artillery gun system (ATAGS), weapon locating radar, high-speed heavyweight ship-launched torpedo, anti-torpedo decoy system which have the potential to attract countries in Africa and South-east Asia.
"I do not want to change the term of reference of their job (defense attachés) but I think defense attachés not only should identify those procurement requirements for us to buy but also be able to speak about what we are producing so that nation outside can look at India as a producing market also rather than a buyer market," Nirmala Sitharaman said at the event.
The attachés work at Indian missions across the world and are primarily tasked with defense diplomacy.
"I am not asking them to become marketing experts but they should be also talking about a lot about what India's defense manufacturers are doing to enhance the capacity or preparedness of the Indian Armed Forces. If they do it, I think naturally they shall create an interest among people outside to see our manufacturers' capacities and in a way sell India without being a market expert," Sitharaman added.
The BrahMos missile is a product of BrahMos Aerospace, which is a joint venture of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of India and the NPO Mashinostroyenia of Russia.