The Union Government is planning to gift obsolete weaponry that can be refurbished at minimal cost to friendly countries in a bid to boost defence cooperation with them. Specific military platforms being looked under this proposal are artillery guns, armoured vehicles, helicopters, naval patrol vehicles and radar systems that are obsolete or nearing obsolescence.
Fulfilling the requests of these countries will open way for deeper strategic engagement with these countries. It will also pave way for long-lasting partnership through deploying training teams, offering special courses in India as well as supply of spares, repair work being carried out in India over the long term. It will also help to create base for Indian defence industry to expand export of newer defence platforms, which have been made in India to these countries.
In the course of India’s engagement with many foreign countries, especially during various high-level visits, number of friendly foreign countries have projected requirement for second-hand military equipment for their armed forces on a gift basis. These requests have come from some countries of Indian Ocean Region, some African countries, Central Asian Republics and the Asia-Pacific region. So far, India has only gifted used Mi25 helicopters to Afghanistan, although it has provided indigenous smaller equipment such as patrol boats to some countries in the neighbourhood.
Government’s proposal is akin to Excess Defense Assets (EDA) programme of United States where it transfers excess defence equipment to chosen foreign countries at reduced price or asgrant. The reduced price is percentage of original acquisition value, based on age and condition of equipment, and ranges from 5% to 50% of the original cost. The recipient country, however, has to pay for packing, handling, crating and transportation as well as refurbishment, if applicable. The Indian proposal envisages the transfer to be a gift.