Seoul : India in the coming years will have great potential in the global arms market, as its manufacturers can offer weapons "in a very cost effective and in a shorter time frame", says Avinash Chander, scientific advisor to the defence minister.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has displayed a wide range of indigenous weapons at the Seoul Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX) to showcase its export potential to global aerospace giants and senior military officials of foreign nations.
Chander, who heads the DRDO, in an interview with South Korean Yonhap news agency said it was the first time that his agency displayed the surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles, Akash and Pragati, outside India. And this decision was made as part of its bid to attract potential overseas buyers.
Chander said India was making the international journey from South Korea because the country was a "natural partner".
"South Korea, being a strategic partner of India and a technologically strong country, is a natural partner for India. This has led to India's beginning of the global journey from Korea."
"This will also enable the Indian defence industry in the development process to access a wider market base."
However, many challenges lie ahead, Chander said, for one of the world's fastest growing economies with a relatively weak defence industry infrastructure.
"This is just a beginning, and in my view, the right step and in the right direction," said Chander. "But still we need to go a long way."
Chander said he hoped to see more industrial cooperation with South Korean companies, which have successful businesses in India with cell phones and cars, and have expanded their footprint in the defence sector.
The Seoul ADEX runs through Sunday.
On the sidelines of the Seoul ADEX, military officials and businessmen of India and South Korea held a bilateral meeting to explore joint research and development, and production.
"Indian and Korean capabilities can be complemented to produce advanced cutting edge defence systems," said Chander, while speaking at the India-Korea Defence Summit.
Other speakers at the summit were Vishnu Prakash, ambassador of India to South Korea, Moon Ki Jung, director general, Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), Korea; Parth Sharma, vice chairman, Indian Chamber of Commerce in Korea; and A. Sivathanu Pillai, CEO, BrahMos.