As the Indian defence industry is rapidly moving towards self-reliance, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said here on Monday the next edition of the international exhibition DefExpo in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, will showcase the capabilities of the local manufacturers.
Making this point in an address at an ambassadors’ roundtable on the upcoming expo, he also said India’s defence exports have grown by 334 per cent in the last five years and now India is exporting military equipment to more than 75 countries. India will host the 12th edition of India’s defence exhibition from March 11-13 next year.
The Round Table was aimed to brief the Ambassadors of foreign missions about the planning, arrangements and other details of DefExpo 2022.
More than 200 delegates, including Ambassadors, Heads of Missions and Defence Attaches attended the Round Table, reflecting the growing global interest in the Indian Defence space.
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, IAF chief V R Chaudhari, Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar and other senior officials of Ministry of Defence and the Gujarat government were also present.
Rajnath said he was sanguine that the exhibition will bring all the latest technologies under one roof and provide a myriad of opportunities to the stakeholders in the aerospace and defence industry.
The Defence Expo-2022 is going to provide an overview of what India has been able to achieve in terms of defence research and development and production, application of modern technologies, liberalized collaborative policies introduced in a short period of 5-7 years, he said.
He told the envoys that the participation of their respective countries at the expo will lead to the development of “mutually advantageous relationships” in the defence sector.
The focus of the exhibition will be to showcase India as an emerging hub for the manufacturing of military hardware. “The defence ministry will remain available and proactively engage through the next four-plus months to develop and build DefExpo-2022 as one of the marquee events as India celebrates its 75 years of independence as Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav,” Rajnath said.
Major global and domestic military firms are expected to participate in the biennial edition of the DefExpo with their latest weaponry and platforms.
The 11th edition of DefExpo was held in Lucknow last year. The theme of the upcoming DefExpo will be “India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub”, officials said.
In August last year, Rajnath announced that India will stop the import of 101 weapons and military platforms like transport aircraft, light combat helicopters, conventional submarines, cruise missiles and sonar systems by 2024.
A second negative list, putting import restrictions on 108 military weapons and systems such as next-generation corvettes, airborne early warning systems, tank engines and radars, was issued recently.
In May last year, the government announced increasing the FDI limit from 49 per cent to 74 per cent under the automatic route in the defence sector.