Demand for more ports for defence export

GS Paper III

News Excerpt:

With defence exports rising, explosive-manufacturing companies have requested the Defence Ministry to make or open more ports on the western coast.

About the news:

  • Explosive manufacturers request the Defence Ministry for more authorised ports on the western side for defence exports.
  • Only Chennai, Kochi, and Vizag are authorised, causing logistical challenges for companies like Munitions India Limited (MIL) and Economic Explosives Limited (EEL).
  • MIL and EEL find it challenging to transport explosives and ammunition to southern ports for export, mainly bound for Europe and West Asia.
  • The Ministry of Defence is considering authorising Mumbai or Kandla port to share the export infrastructure load, aiming to reduce costs and time.
  • Explosive exports are expected to surge from ₹200 crores in FY22 to ₹1,500 crores in FY23; safety standards and certifications are crucial for port authorisation.
  • The packaging of explosives has to be certified by the Mumbai-based Indian Institute of Packaging.

India's defence exports:

  • Looking to expand the Make in India in the defence sector, India's defence exports have skyrocketed to an all-time high, touching nearly the Rs 16,000 cr mark in FY 2022-23.
  • With a 23-fold increase in exports, Indian design and development capabilities are reaching over 85 countries.
  • The Indian indigenous defence industry has succeeded in expanding exports by selling major defence systems, including the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, Akash air defence systems and artillery guns to a friendly country.

Suggestions to improve defence manufacturing in India:

  • Implement transparent and accountable procedures to enhance efficiency and attract investments.
  • Encourage collaboration between domestic and foreign defence research institutions, universities, and the private sector to promote knowledge exchange.
  • Develop specialised defence manufacturing zones to create dedicated spaces for defence production and establish incubators for defence startups.
  • Prioritise cyber security in defence manufacturing to safeguard sensitive information and technologies. 
  • The Government may also consider the creation of a think tank under the Department of Defence R&D with national and international experts in S&T, war-gaming, policy formation, security and diplomacy, etc., to commensurate with world requirements.


Mains PYQ

Q. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the defence sector is now set to be liberalized: What influence this is expected to have on Indian defence and economy in the short and long run? (UPSC 2014)