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Defence exports touch ₹13,000 crore: official

India’s defence exports for 2021-22 were estimated at ₹13,000 crore, the highest ever, Sanjay Jaju, Additional Secretary (Defence Production) in the Defence Ministry, said here on Friday. The U.S. was a major buyer, as also nations in Southeast Asia, West Asia and Africa.

“The private sector accounted for 70% of the exports, while public sector firms accounted for the rest,” Mr. Jaju said. Earlier, the private sector used to account for 90% but now the share of defence public sector units had gone up, he added.

While India’s defence imports from the U.S. have gone up significantly in recent years, Indian companies have been increasingly becoming part of the supply chains of U.S. defence companies.

Explaining the methodology of accounting the defence exports, Mr. Jaju said only components which needed defence authorisation were accounted, listed under the SCOMET 6 category. So, several aviation components and dual-use items, which did not come under the list, were not counted.

In January, India signed a $374.96-million deal with the Philippines, its single biggest defence export order, for the supply of three batteries of shore-based anti-ship variant of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.

On July 11, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will inaugurate a symposium and exhibition on “Artificial Intelligence in defence”, organised by the Department of Defence Production.

Talking to presspersons, Defence Secretary Dr. Ajay Kumar said 75 newly developed AI products and technologies, having applications in defence, would be launched.

“Nature of modern warfare is changing. AI will play a significant role in all forms of modern warfare,” he said

In 2018, the Defence Ministry had created a task force to work out an action plan to prepare the armed forces for AI and the challenges, he said and based on the feedback of the task force, “lot of work was done.”

“These are products that are tried and tested, and have been deployed or in the process of being deployed,” Dr. Kumar said.

A high-powered council chaired by Defence Minister, and Defence AI council is spearheading the initiative. In addition to the 75 products to be launched, over 100 products are in process of being developed, he said. adding, “We are also in process of creating the infrastructure to process and store the data so can work on certain classified applications of AI.”

The products to be launched are in the domains of automation, unmanned, robotics systems; cyber security; human behaviour analysis; intelligent monitoring system; logistics and supply chain management, speech/voice analysis and Command, Control, Communication, Computer & Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems and operational data analytics.

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