MOD to HAL: Build Tejas Mk.2 With Export In Mind

India's Department of Defence Production has asked agencies developing the Mk.2 version of the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft to plan ahead to position the aircraft for export. HAL is understood to have been asked to conduct a study assessing interest in the light fighter. A previous study, conducted by DRDO in 2005, made no specific observations except to say that the aircraft had "elicited international interest and could be positioned as an export item on the lines of the Advanced Light Helicopter".

The export of defence equipment has been a highly sensitive subject in India. The country has never exported lethal defence equipment as part of a commercial contract (it has, as part of operational assistance pacts, for instance, to Sri Lanka) and the idea that India should exploit successful defence programmes in the international market and frequently looked at as unthinkable, in keeping with the country's "peaceful" image. However, the DRDO has frequently held that there is a reasonably high level of interest in many of its weapon products, including guided missiles and ammunition.

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