In an effort to boost defence cooperation, the government has asked the armed forces to compile a list of obsolete military equipment that can be ‘refurbished at minimal cost’ and gifted to ‘friendly’ countries.
According to a government sources, in course of India’s engagement with many foreign countries, especially during various high-level visits, a number of friendly foreign countries have projected a requirement for second-hand military equipment for their armed forces on a gift basis. These requests have come from some countries of the 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.
Apart from the strategic significance, sources said, the government hopes to create a base “to expand export of newer defence platforms, which have been made in India, to these countries”. However, the move appears to have taken by surprise senior army and air force officers, who say much of the equipment that can be classified as obsolete is currently in use due to lack of funds.
Specific military platforms being looked at, said sources, are artillery guns, armoured vehicles, helicopters, naval patrol vehicles and radar systems that are obsolete or nearing obsolescence.