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Efforts being made to promote defence exports to friendly foreign countries: Def Secy

NEW DELHI (PTI): Efforts are being made to promote defence exports to friendly foreign countries, and India is open to provide line of credit for those nations which are looking to source defence equipment from the country, a senior official said on Thursday.

Addressing a conclave held in New Delhi, via a video link from Bengaluru, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar also said that encouraged by the response of the Lucknow Declaration during DefExpo 2020, it has now been decided to hold regular India Africa Defence Ministers Conclave in all successive DefExpos which take place biennially.

The next DefExpo is slated to be held in March 2022 in Gandhinagar, Gujrat.

The first-ever India Africa Defence Ministers Conclave was held in Lucknow in conjunction with DefExpo India in 2020, co-organised by the Ministry of Defence.

This was the first in the series of Pan Africa events at the ministerial level in the run-up to India Africa Forum Summit IV.

In his address at the defence conclave, Kumar also said that "focus here is to see if we can move from single-service exercises to tri-service and joint exercises, which is in line with larger effort of jointness that we are creating within India".

It will also allow greater ability for co-ordination and working together, interoperability, with other friendly countries, he said.

Kumar said efforts were being made to promote defence exports to friendly foreign countries.

"Today, we are open to provide line of credit, at many attractive terms for those countries which are looking to source defence equipment from India," he said.

Kumar earlier said that the world is seeing different kinds of "pulls and pressures" which are resulting into new dynamics that was not witnessed earlier.

India with its belief in rules-based order, and inclusive and open society, is further enhancing its influence not only in its neighbourhood but in the larger Indian Ocean region, he added.

He also said the number of seats for courses offered by the National Defence College in Delhi for senior officers and others from friendly foreign countries, have been expanded.

He asserted that the defence sector, which was largely dominated by the public sector in the past, is seeing change as a mix of public and private sectors.

India is witnessing "huge dynamism" in defence sector, "and, I assure you that the kind of equipment and support that our defence industry will be providing will have either equipment which have been tried and tested by armed forces, or tested and certified as fit for military use, to ensure quality", he told a gathering of defence industry leaders.

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