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India launches ‘attaché' plan to spur major increase in defence exports

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has unveiled a plan to increase overseas diplomatic engagement to support a major boost in defence exports over the coming few years.

In a recent notice published by the MoD it confirmed a target to reach defence exports worth INR350 billion (USD5 billion) by 2025. It said that its defence attachés corps posted overseas can play a “pivotal role” in achieving the objective.

India has announced a new initiative – centred on defence attachés – to expand exports of indigenous products including the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

The notice stated, “Defence attachés understand the defence requirements of the respective country and can promote [the] export of Indian defence products in their respective countries.”

To support the initiative, which the MoD said “envisages promoting Indian defence exports globally”, defence attachés will be allocated funding to support exports across three categories of target markets.

In countries classed as ‘Category A’ the MoD will provide defence attachés with USD50,000 annually to promote exports, and in Category B and Category C defence attachés will be allocated USD30,000 and USD20,000, respectively.

The notice stated that the funds should be used by attachés for activities, including participating in defence shows, publicity campaigns, undertaking market studies, and organising seminars. It said all defence attachés should submit “yearly action plans” on how they propose to boost defence exports.

The MoD notice said the new initiative will play a “catalytic role in addressing interventions required for exploring new markets and promoting export-oriented activities by defence attachés in the countries to which they are attached”.

The attaché initiative, which will be piloted for one year before being extended, is costed by the MoD at INR170 million annually and will be funded by government expenditures. In total India operates more than 200 foreign embassies and consulates globally.

Under the scheme, the MoD is targeting defence exports to a total of 85 countries.

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