India says defence production exceeds $12 billion for first time


New Delhi (Reuters) – India’s defence production rose more than 12% last fiscal year and crossed the 1 trillion rupee ($12 billion) threshold for the first time, the government said on Friday, as the country tries to reduce its reliance on imports from countries such as Russia.

India, the world’s largest arms importer in the past decade, depends on Russia for nearly half of its military supplies. But the war in Ukraine has held up of Russian spares critical for India to maintain its tank and fighter jet fleets, and delayed the delivery of Russian air defence systems.

The value of India’s local defence production jumped to 1.07 trillion rupees in the year that ended on March 31 and was expected to rise further once data from some private defence companies came in, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

“The government is continuously working with defence industries and their associations to remove the challenges faced by them and promote defence production in the country,” the ministry said.

It added that the number of defence-industry licences issued had nearly tripled in recent years.

India’s defence exports have risen too, jumping 24% to about 160 billion rupees last fiscal year, according to government data.

It exports Dornier-228 aircraft, artillery guns, Brahmos missiles made under a joint venture with Russia, radars, armoured vehicles, rockets and Launchers, ammunition and other equipment.

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