NEW DELHI: In an unprecedented move, India has called in all its 44 defence attaches from missions abroad for a series of specialised briefings starting Monday that is aimed at increasing efforts to tap potential for defence exports and strengthen the interface between the government and industry.

The initiative, spearheaded by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, intends to bring the attaches up to speed on several areas that include exploring new defence markets and promoting "Make in India". The attaches, traditionally seen as easy postings for military officers in Indian embassies overseas, will listen to talks by government and industry representatives.

They will be present at the defence expo, where they are expected to interact with public and private sector defence firms, with the larger goal of promoting Indian defence exports. A key aspect of the Modi government's Make in India programme is defence, where India is looking for more manufacturing. Most of it is in the hands of the public sector units but there is a growing move to involve private sector players. The logical progression would include being able to secure new markets for defence exports, because, traditionally, India has not been regarded as a defence exporter.

In recent months, India has hosted delegations from the UAE who have come in to see what kind of defence products they could source from India.

Using defence attaches to become integrated with not only what India needs in terms of defence buys but also what India wants to sell to other markets is intended to maximise the presence of attaches.

In recent years, Indian diplomats overseas have taken on greater roles as economic and commercial ambassadors. This is expected to accelerate the government's plan.