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Military Equipment (Exports)

Volume 518: debated on Monday 8 November 2010

I thank hon. Members for that welcome.

This Government has made defence exports a priority. In the SDSR we said:

“we will…promote defence and security exports for good commercial reasons and where this will build capacity of our partners and allies, increase interoperability, potentially reduce our own defence acquisition costs, and maximise UK industry’s comparative advantage in key technologies, skills and know-how, without risking the proliferation of sensitive technologies critical to the UK’s military edge.”

All Ministers are encouraged to play their part in promoting responsible defence exports and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has led the way in that regard.

One of the ways to rebalance the economy is to promote exports of important hubs, and defence is an important industrial hub. I am very pleased to hear that the Indian Government are getting close to concluding that the Typhoon is the fighter that they want. Will the Minister say something about that order and how we are promoting further defence exports?

We are delighted to read the reports in The Sunday Telegraph—they must, therefore, be entirely accurate—that the Indian Government have found that the technical superiority of the Typhoon is overwhelming, and we of course share that view. We are doing all we can in conjunction with our partner nations to secure that order. In this case, the German Government are leading with the Indians, but I am very hopeful that when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence visits India, we can further promote the case of the Typhoon.