India’s grand defence Expo- the Defexpo kicked off here in Mahabalipuram inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the ‘Make in India pavilion’ on Thursday.
The theme of the Defexpo was set as “India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub”.
Defexpo is India’s only one of a kind defence exhibition showcasing the finest level of military equipments in an attempt to transform India into a military hub of manufacturing and fixing a turnover target of Rs,1,70,000 crores in military goods by 2025.
Defexpo is a platform for featuring Asia’s largest inland, naval and internal homeland security systems.
This is the 10th edition of Defence Expo held in the temple town of Mahabalipuram amid raging protests on Cauvery water issue attended by over 670 exhibitors from 150 manufacturers trying to tap the lucrative military market that India has, eyeing the fact that India is world’s largest importer of defence arms.
Among the official delegations at the Defexpo include companies from Russia, US, UK, Afghanistan, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Madagascar, Seychelles, Nepal and Portugal.
In another five years India is expected to spend $300 billion in procuring the state-of-the art defence deals.
The defence expo witnessed a series of defence deals between US aircraft major Boeing, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Mahindra Defence Systems into manufacturing F/A-18 Super Hornet in India for Airforce.
Another US aircraft giant Lockheed Martin has also decided to transfer its F-16 fighter manufacturing unit to India along with the third generation Javelin missile manufacturing technology.
Major international companies, which are participating at the expo include Lockheed Martin, Boeing (US), Saab (Sweden), Airbus, Rafale (France), Rosonboron Exports, United Shipbuilding (Russia), BAE Systems (UK), Sibat (Israel), Wartsila (Finland) and Rhode and Schwarz (Germany).
Keeping in line with the Defexpo was the Indian Air force’s brilliant combat exercise which took off on Wednesday along the borders of Pakistan and China.
The latest artillery and weapons to be displayed in the Defexpo include Tejas fighter jets, Advanced towed artillery gun systems (ATAGS), Arjun Mark 2 Tank, Dhanush artillery guns, medium power radar system and heavyweight anti-submarine electric torpedo.
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the august audience at Defexpo he stressed on India’s concerted efforts to revive its strategy for Make In India and Made in India in the defence sector.
PM Modi in this gathering was accompanied by Edappadi K. Palaniswami, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, O Panneerselvam, Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
He also focussed on the government’s key agenda to bring licensing of defence offsets, FDI in defence and export clearance to the forefront of its existing defence policy.
He went on to mention Tamil Nadu’s glorious naval legacy existent since the reign of Chola empire. It was in Tamil Nadu that India’s ‘Look East’ policy took roots almost a thousand years ago.
Chief Minister K. Palaniswamy also thanked the Prime Minister for taking this initiative the Defexpo and pulling Tamil Nadu into the defence corridor.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also took this opportunity to thanks the Prime Minister and address the audience.
Speaking to the press Sitharaman said that the government’s objective was to promote India as the global platform for defence equipments, supported by an overwhelming response from foreign and domestic manufacturers in this four daylong event.
In its defence policy drafted last month the defence ministry envisaged India’s position as one of the top five defence manufacturers in the world, with participation from public as well as private sectors, overreaching the aim of Rs 1,70,00 crore by 2025 profit in military goods and services.
One of the key aspects of the Defexpo was India’s announcement for procurement of 110 single and twin seater fighter jets for Indian Airforce.