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Growing interest in Indian missiles: Sitharaman

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Replicas of BRAHMOS Weapon System on display during a defence exhibition. A file photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said there is a growing interest among various countries in the Indian missiles and the Government wants to sell them to the friendly nations.

"The interest in Indian missiles is definitely growing and we are addressing it," Sitharaman said.

She added India wants to sell them to the "friendly nations."

Citing negotiations over aspects like cost, the Defence Minister said arriving at a decision on a deal is at times "frustrating," but the interest in the Indian missiles is "sustained."

Sitharaman was speaking at an event organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

Several countries have shown interest in the Indian missiles. Countries like Vietnam are keen on buying supersonic BRAHMOS missile from India.

The Defence Minister said she will address the defence attaches posted in Indian missions abroad to encourage them to market the capabilities of the Indian manufacturing experts.

The missions and embassies of all nations have a defence attache, usually a senior armed forces official, who takes care of the country's defence needs with particularly the nation he is posted in. Similar is the case with India.

"I am not asking them to be marketing experts but they should be able to talk a lot on what India's defence manufacturers are doing to enhance the capacity of the country's armed forces."

This will create an interest among various countries about the abilities of Indian defence equipment manufacturers and "in a way sell India without being marketing experts," she said.

"Defence attaches should not only identify those defence procurement for us to buy but (they should) also be able to speak about what we are producing so that the nations outside can look at India as a producer's market also, rather than a buyer's market," she said.

Pointing out the cumbersome and time-consuming nature of the procurement process, the Defence Minister said by the time a decision for procurement is finalised, there is little fund left to buy the equipment.

Sitharaman said she is talking to the Finance Commission to ensure that defence procurement funding, particularly the capital expenditure, becomes "non-lapsable" and stays alive even after a certain cycle.

She said in bilateral talks with all the countries India purchases equipment from, an emphasis is given on indigenisation to ensure production of the items within the country.

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