As the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) begins its crucial five-day meeting in the South Korean capital of Seoul on Monday to discuss India’s membership bid, the South Asian country has hinted that it will export missile systems to certain ‘friendly’ nations.

Speaking at a press conference in southern city of Bengaluru over the weekend, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that the Narendra Modi government in New Delhi made a final decision in this regard to help friendly countries boost their defence capabilities. The minister also said that it was “a very conscious” decision made 4-5 months ago. However, Parrikar made clear that India would allow producers to export only 10% of the country’s missile capacity, if they managed to get export orders. He further said that producers of missile systems would have to follow certain rules and regulations set by the Indian government and the External Affairs Ministry.

According to the minister, although India formulated a ‘policy of export’ long ago, it did not implement the policy due to lack of spare capacity after meeting requirement of the Indian armed forces. As the production capacity for various missile systems, such as ‘Akash’, has been improved in recent times, the government plans to export missile systems. In order to maintain a balance between the export volume and domestic needs, the Modi government also plans to enhance the production capacity by 10% (so that the Indian forces are not deprived).

Meanwhile, Parrikar confirmed that India would soon export ‘BrahMos’ missiles to Vietnam. He stressed that the government set up a group to discuss about Vietnam’s requirement after receiving a request from the South-east Asian nation. Asked about the Rafale deal with France, the defence minister said that New Delhi and Paris recently concluded discussion on the fighter jet and he was waiting for a report from the Indian team that had taken part in negotiations. “Once the report is received, the Defence Ministry will analyse it and then it will go to the government,” he added.

During his visit to France in April 2015, Prime Minister Modi announced that India would purchase 36 Rafale jets from Paris on the basis of a government-to-government contract. The PM had also hinted that India would decommission two MiG-21 squadrons and replace them with MiG-27 squadrons soon.

Currently, India negotiates with the US on Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI). Commenting on the Initiative, Parrikar said that the two parties were on the final stages of agreeing to aircraft carrier technology. “The engine, there is reservation, because the percentage of TOT (transfer of technology) transfer is not to our liking, so we are discussing about it. There are many more projects which are there,” he told the press.

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog - Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]