The union cabinet on 30 December cleared the proposal to export indigenously-developed Akash Missile System. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made the announcement. Modi Cabinet has approved the setting up of a committee for faster approvals.
The Defence Minister informed in a series of tweets:
“Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat, India is growing in its capabilities of manufacturing wide variety of Defence platforms & missiles. The Cabinet chaired by Narendra Modi ji today approved the export of Akash Missile System and a Committee for faster Approvals has been created.
“Akash is country’s important missile with over 96 percent indigenisation. Akash is a Surface to Air Missile with a range of 25 Kms. The export version of Akash will be different from System currently deployed with Indian Armed Forces.
“So far, Indian defence exports included parts/components etc. The export of big platforms was minimal. This decision by the Cabinet would help the country to improve its defence products and make them globally competitive.
“The Government of India intends to focus on exporting high value defence platforms, to achieve target of 5 Billion USD of defence export and improve strategic relations with friendly foreign countries.”
As per the Defence Research and Development Organisation which has developed the Akash Missile System, is it a short-range surface-to-air missile system to protect vulnerable areas and vulnerable points from air attacks.
Akash Weapon System can simultaneously engage multiple targets in group mode or autonomous mode. It has built-in Electronic Counter-Counter Measures (ECCM) features. The entire weapon system has been configured on mobile platforms, the DRDO website states.
Akash Weapon Systems has been inducted and is operational with the Indian Air Force as well as the Indian Army, it adds.
While there is a Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) that G-7 industrialisied nations had put in place in 1987, restricting the export of missiles, the regime applies to missiles that deliver a payload of at least 500 kg to a range of at least 300 km and on equipment, software, and technology for such systems. Akash missiles are smaller with a shorter range of 30 km. Even then, it has the capability to neutralise aerial targets like fighter jets, cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles as well as ballistic missiles.