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10 countries want to buy Indian BrahMos supersonic  cruise missiles, and Akash SAM missile systems

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BY S VENKAT NARAYAN,

Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, January 9: India’s plan to emerge as a major arms exporter and bolster strategic ties with “friendly” countries is gaining traction. At least 10 countries want to buy the Akash surface-to-air missile systems, the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, and other weapons.

The case for exporting BrahMos missiles, developed jointly with Russia, to the Philippines is already with the Cabinet Committee for Security for final approval, according to sources in the Indian defence ministry.

At least five other countries have shown interest in acquiring the BrahMos missiles. They are:  Indonesia, Vietnam, UAE, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. The 290-km range BrahMos has emerged as the “precision-strike weapon of choice” for the Indian armed forces.

And there are nine countries which have shown interest in the indigenously-developed Akash missile systems, which can intercept hostile aircraft, helicopters, drones and subsonic cruise missiles at a range of 25-km. They are Kenya, Philippines, Indonesia, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Vietnam and Algeria.”Being over 96% indigenous, there is no need to seek any third country’s concurrence to export Akash. For BrahMos, Russia has to be on board,” said a source.Though the range of BrahMos is now being extended to over 400-km, with India and Russia even planning to test an 800-km variant this year, the export version will be the 290-km one. “This is due to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which prevents proliferation of missiles over 300-km range, and some other issues,” said the source.

The Akash export version will also be slightly different from the one inducted by the Indian armed forces. The 100-km range air-to-air Astra missiles, now entering production after successful trials from Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, also have “good export potential”, said sources.India will have to export “bigger weapon systems” if it wants to come anywhere near the ambitious annual export target of $5 billion (INR365 billion) by 2025. Towards this end, the Union Cabinet on December 30 approved the export of Akash systems.It also set up a committee with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to “authorize subsequent exports” to various countries in an expeditious manner.

 Both BrahMos and Akash are “tried, tested and successfully inducted systems”. Indian armed forces have ordered Akash systems worth INR240 billion over the years, with another contract for INR100 billion on the way now. Contracts for BrahMos, in turn, have already crossed INR360 billion.

 Meanwhile, India continues to be the second-largest buyer of foreign weapons in the world after Saudi Arabia, accounting for 9.2% of the total global arms imports during 2015-2019.  Currently India exports some smaller weapons, components and ammunition. In 2018-2019, its arms exports crossed the one-billion-dollar mark for the first time.



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Rootcode wins Startup of the Year and People’s Choice Award at SAARC Startup Awards 2022

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Rootcode, one of Sri Lanka’s leading tech companies, recently took home the “People’s Choice Award” in addition to being bestowed with the “Startup of the Year” title at the SAARC Startup Awards 2022. This regional recognition marks a significant milestone for the Sri Lankan tech space and workforce. Rootcode’s mission to build great tech is well underway, and it is gaining traction faster than ever.

This is the first time a Sri Lankan tech company has made a name for itself in the regional competition, and it is a watershed moment that has focused the global spotlight on Rootcode’s distinct approach to fostering innovation in Sri Lanka. This is also the first time that a Sri Lankan company was able to take home two awards of those presented at the SAARC Startup Awards.

Global Startup Awards SAARC celebrates the spirit of entrepreneurship and promotes bridging boundaries through innovation in its regions, which include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, by recognizing them with its most prestigious awards program, attended by top-notch entrepreneurs, corporates, investors, and ecosystem builders from Nordic, Central Europe, SAARC, and ASEAN regions.

Every year, the SAARC Startup Awards bring together hundreds of South Asian startups, entrepreneurs, investors, co-working spaces, and accelerators to provide a platform to highlight trailblazers in the region’s startup world. Rootcode was chosen ahead of dozens of other regional tech startups in the competition.

Sri Lanka is a relative newcomer to the South Asian startup fraternity, and Rootcode’s ability to represent the country on the global stage not long after its inception is remarkable.

“We are extremely humbled and honored by the support shown to us at the SAARC Startup Awards 2022, and being recognized under two categories is a huge milestone for us,” said the CEO and Founder of Rootcode Labs, Alagan Mahalingam. “We have always been driven forward by excellence, collaboration, and integrity, which I believe is the reason why we have come so far and why Rootcode continues to grow every day.”

Rootcode is driven by its focus on helping businesses build great tech not just locally but globally, and its achievement at the SAARC awards stands as a testament to that. Despite the challenging times, this is a win for Sri Lanka.

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INSEE Cement felicitates Sri Lanka’s youngest Commonwealth medallist

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INSEE Cement awarded aspiring wrestler, Nethmi Ahimsa Fernando, who won a Bronze Medal for Sri Lanka at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, LKR 1 million cash reward, to support her to pursue her passion. Suranga Kumara, her coach, also received LKR 250,000 cash reward, in appreciation of his contribution towards Nethmi’s recent achievements. INSEE Cement has also pledged to support Nethmi’s aspiration to represent Sri Lanka at the 2024 Olympic games, while also providing the entire cement requirement for the completion of her new house, which is presently under construction, in collaboration with the Manusath Derana initiative.

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Textile maker Teejay knits strong start to 2022-23

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Q1 revenue more than doubles to Rs 23.9 billion

Teejay Lanka PLC has made a positive start to 2022-23 posting Group revenue of Rs 23.9 billion for the three months ending 30th June 2022. The Group achieved nearly half its full-year revenue of 2021-22 in just the first quarter of the new financial year as a result of the low base of the previous financial year due to the impacts of COVID, the depreciation of the Rupee and the passing on of yarn price increases during the last quarter.

In a filing with the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), Sri Lanka’s largest textile manufacturer said it had also recorded significant growth in pre-tax and net profit at both Group and Company level in the quarter reviewed.According to interim financial statements, Group profit before tax for the three months grew by more than Rs 1 billion or 291% to Rs 1.5 billion, while Group net profit for the period was up 301% to Rs 1.2 billion.

At Company level, revenue improved by 108% in the quarter under review to Rs 12.9 billion, while profit before tax grew by 323% to Rs 1.5 billion, and net profit increased by 311% to Rs 1.3 billion.

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