USA Is India’s No.1 Defense Export Market; Here Is The List Of Top 10 Countries For Indian Hardware

India’s military exports reached an impressive Rs. 21,083 crores ($2.5B) in FY 2023-24, fueled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiatives. The Indian Government aims to achieve defense exports worth Rs. 50,000 crores ($6B) by the conclusion of FY 2028-29. 

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Rajnath Singh, who took charge on June 14, 2024, for a second consecutive term as Defense Minister, has set an ambitious target for Indian defense exports.

The Defense Minister said, “Defense exports had touched a record Rs 21,083 crore in Financial Year 2023-24. It was historic. Our target will be to export over Rs 50,000 crore worth of defense equipment by 2028-2029.”

Since coming to power in 2014, the BJP government led by Narendra Modi has prioritized the promotion of Indian defense exports to friendly nations. The major export push is in sync with the PM’s flagship initiatives: “Make in India” and “Atmanirbhar Bharat.”

As a result of this push, India has experienced a significant turnaround by exploring the untapped export potential of its defense industry. As per data released by the Ministry of Defence, the value of Indian defense exports in FY 2013-14 was Rs. 686 crores ($80M). After 10 years of the Modi government, the value of defense exports reached Rs. 21,083 crores (2.5B), a remarkable jump of more than 30 times.

Although this is a remarkable accomplishment for India’s defense industry, significant untapped potential remains that the government aims to uncover by establishing ambitious goals for the next five years.

As of today, India exports military equipment to 84 countries worldwide, including high-income nations like Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, UK, USA, etc.

While the success of India’s rise in defense exports is not unknown, the major products that have been the driving force behind this transformation remain largely unknown. Here are the top 10 countries that buy the highest amount of Indian military gear.

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#1 USA

As per data released by India’s Ministry of Defence in January 2023, the USA is one of the top markets for Indian military equipment. The exports comprise bullet-proof jackets and helmets, parts and components of firearms, armor-shielding equipment, electronics, sub-systems, and aero components.

The Indian companies that the USA buys from are Aventel, Boeing India, Cummins Technologies India, Fokker Elmo Sasmos Interconnection Systems, GKN Aerospace Engine Systems India, Goodrich Aerospace Services, Indo MIM, Inmet Technology Solutions, MKU, Rockwell Collins India Enterprises, Rosselltechsys, Tata Advanced Systems, Tata Boeing Aerospace, and Vemtechnologies.

File Image: Biden and Modi


Israel purchases a significant number of Indian weapons, as per the Ministry of Defence. The shopping list includes bullet-proof jackets and helmets, parts and components of firearms, batteries, sub-systems, etc.

The companies that export weapons to Israel are PLR Systems, Kalyani Rafael Advanced System, Indo MIM, Alpha-Elsec Defence and Aerospace Systems, Lotus Aviation Technology, Defsys Solutions, Adani-Elbit, Advanced Systems, DCX Cable Technologies, Aceinotec Manufacturing, Alpha Design Technologies, Larsen and Toubro, Wipro Enterprises, HBL Power Systems, Godrej and Boyce, Astra Microwave Products, Astra Rafael Comsys, and BF Elbit Advanced Systems.

#3 UK

The UK is an important export destination for Indian military equipment manufacturers. Their items include bullet-proof jackets and helmets, electronics, sub-systems, aero components, and engineering services.

The Indian weapon manufacturers include Cummins Technologies India, Goodrich Aerospace Services, Larsen and Toubro, Mahindra Defence Systems, Micron Instruments, and Tata Advanced Systems.

#4 France

France, a key military and diplomatic ally of India, has been one of the top buyers of Indian weapons. The French have purchased firearm components, batteries, and aerospace components from India.

The Indian companies that have exported military equipment to France include Dassault Reliance Aerospace, Godrej and Boyce, Goodrich Aerospace Services, Hyderabad Precisions Manufacturing, Mahindra Aerostructure, Micron Instruments, MKU, Safran Electrical and Power India, Sasmos HET Technologies, and Titan Engineering and Automation.

#5 Germany

Germany, the largest economy in the European Union (EU), is also a significant target for Indian weapons manufacturers. It buys bullet-proof jackets and helmets, armor-shielding equipment, and firearm components from India.

The companies involved in these exports are MKU, Indo MIM, Grindwell Norton, Micron Instruments, and Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India.

#6 UAE

The UAE has purchased bullet-proof jackets and helmets, ammunition, firearm components, and batteries from India. The companies exporting military equipment to UAE are Ordnance Factory Board, Indo MIM, Aceinotec Manufacturing, MKU, HBL Power Systems, and Indian Armour Systems.

#7 The Netherlands

The Netherlands, too, purchases a substantial amount of Indian military equipment. The EU nation imports bullet-proof jackets and helmets, subsystems, aero components, fuselage structures, armoring, and engineering services from India.

The companies that export equipment to the Netherlands include Mahindra Aerostructure, Aerostructures Manufacturing India, GKN Aerospace Engine Systems India, SM Carapace Armour, and Lakshmi Machine Works.

#8 Philippines

In a bid to arm China’s adversaries, India has increased arms sales to the Philippines in the last few years. The Southeast Asian nation has imported bullet-proof jackets and helmets, firearm components, and the Brahmos Missile from India.

MKU, Inmet Technology Solutions, Indo MIMI, NNF Technologies, and Brahmos Aerospace are the companies that have exported military hardware to the Philippines.

#9 Sri Lanka

India has supplied critical military equipment to Sri Lanka as part of its “Neighbourhood First” policy. Indian exports include bullet-proof jackets and helmets, electronics, batteries, and off-shore patrol vessels. The Indian companies involved in these exports are HBL Power Systems, Bharat Electronics, MKU, and Goa Shipyard.

#10 Saudi Arabia

As a result of closer ties between the two nations, India has also exported weapons and other military equipment to Saudi Arabia. The exports include night-vision binoculars, bullet-proof jackets and helmets, armor shields, and bomb blankets. The Indian companies involved in exports are MKU, Micron Instruments, Indian Armour Systems, and Grindwell Norton.

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Indian defense exports are dominated by non-core technology-based products. Compared with core tech products such as aircraft, missiles, and warships, these equipment are low-cost.

To meet the 50,000 crores target ($6B), India must export high-end products.

India is banking on key indigenous weapons like Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv, a Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), Prachand, Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), Missiles/Rockets like BrahMos, Akash, Pinaka, etc.

Despite the US topping the list, India is aggressively targeting Southeast Asia and the Middle East to export the above-mentioned hi-tech weapons.

BrahMos and Pinaka have managed to secure export orders from the Philippines and Armenia, but New Delhi continues to promote other platforms, such as Teja and its choppers, to other countries, including Argentina and Nigeria.

  • By: ET Digital Desk
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