Last month, Tanzania imported 591 military transport vehicles from India in an effort to improve the transport capabilities of the Tanzania People’s Defense Force. In an email interview, Laxman Kumar Behera, a research fellow at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses in New Delhi specializing in the Indian defense industry, explained the dynamics of India’s defense exports. The views expressed are the author’s own.
WPR: What are the main countries to which India exports defense products, and what does it sell them?
Laxman Kumar Behera: The Indian defense industry mainly exports to Asian and African countries, though it also exports some products to other parts of the world, including the U.S. and the U.K. However, most of India’s defense exports are of low-technology items, and the volume of its exports is meager. Except for a few helicopters and small transport aircraft, which have recently been exported by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) to countries like Ecuador and the Seychelles, respectively, Indian defense exports mainly consist of spare parts, clothing items, parachutes and accessories, communications equipment, night-vision devices, transport vehicles and various types of ammunition.