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KUWAIT CITY, April 3: India which has pumped billions of dollars into its defense sector in an effort to become less reliant on imports, including from heavyweight countries such as Russia, to protect its borders from adversaries, it has been trying to sell more of its domestically produced hardware to other countries, particularly poorer nations unable to afford more expensive Western-made kits, says a press release issued by the Embassy of India, Kuwait.
The press release added, the Indian military recently showed off the goods on offer with a simulated operation featuring commandos abseiling from helicopters, armored vehicles, and bomb disposal robots and a retired Indian army general VG Patankar was quoted as saying, “We are making equipment which is affordable and reliable.”
Also on display in Maharashtra, Pune in western India – the country’s key defense manufacturing hub – were assault rifles, artillery shells, and models of missiles. The event, followed nine days of joint military drills with military personnel from 23 African countries including from Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Africa. India opened its largest helicopter manufacturing plant in February, months after it unveiled its first locally made aircraft carrier and test-fired a ballistic missile from its maiden domestic nuclear-powered submarine.
The country aims to more than double its annual arms exports to $5 billion in the coming years from about $1.7 billion currently. Less than 20 percent of its arms exports currently go to Africa, and customers Egypt, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Mauritius, and the Seychelles, officials said on condition of anonymity.