Union Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt on Tuesday said India has become an exporter of defence equipment under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Addressing election rallies in Uttarakhand's Dharchula and Pithoragarh as part of the BJP's Vijay Sankalp Yatra, he said India has not only taken major steps over the last seven years towards achieving self-reliance in manufacturing defence equipment, but is also exporting those to 72 countries.

"We have kept 209 defence equipment for domestic production, which used to be imported earlier," Bhatt, who is also the MP from Nainital, said.

"The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the leading research institute in the field of defence in the world, has listed India among the top 25 countries that export defence equipment," he said.

The researches being carried out by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are making the country self-reliant in the sphere of defence, the Union minister said.