The biggest-ever defence Expo (Asia’s largest defence technology exhibition) is being held in Ahmedabad this year, from March 10 to March 13. The biennial event aims to promote India as a global investment destination for manufacturing and assembly of advanced weapon systems and platforms, thereby playing a critical role towards realising the goal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of making India a $5-trillion economy by 2024-25.
The event comes at a time when India is facing increasing geopolitical threats from an expansionist China and an unpredictable Pakistan. Moreover, it also comes at a time when the country is recovering from the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Increasing private sector investments in the MSME sector carries the potential to create direct and indirect employment opportunities for millions of skilled and semi-skilled youths, which may potentially arrest the ongoing economic sluggishness.
The 12th edition of DefExpo may prove to be the catalyst for Indian defence modernisation and also lay the solid techno-economic foundations for a ‘New India’ in the ongoing decade. In a major outreach to the friendly foreign countries as also to the defence manufacturing industries of the world, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh chaired the Ambassadors’ Round Table for DefExpo 2022 in October last year. More than 200 delegates, including ambassadors, heads of missions and defence attaches attended the meeting, reflecting the growing global interest in the Indian defence space.
Speaking at the event, the minister said that India is open to conducting business on a mutually beneficially collaborative basis, in the spirit of giving and taking, for the all-around welfare of everyone. “Resurgent India, where defence manufacturing is an identified pillar of growth, will display its ability to take lead at DefExpo-2022. I am confident that pursuing the vision of our Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, DefExpo-2022 will sow the seeds of successful new ventures and international partnerships to promote shared prosperity, boost investment, expand manufacturing and bolster the aerospace and defence ecosystem in India, which shall be ready to serve the defence requirements of our friendly countries also,” he said.
The Def Expo India exhibition was conceptualised in 1998 by the Department of Defence Production, under the Ministry of Defence, in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry to promote defence exports from India and at the same time exhibit the capabilities of Indian defence R&D and production.
The Government had announced two defence industrial corridors (in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh respectively) during Budget-2018-19. The two new defence industrial corridors will leverage the existing manufacturing ecosystem in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu to create a robust and dedicated defence manufacturing space. With the new defence acquisition policy unveiled very recently, DefExpo-2022 will be an important step towards attracting big defence and aerospace players to India.
At DefExpo-2022, the countries will not only get an opportunity to showcase their equipment and platforms, but also be able to explore the strengths and capabilities of the expanse of the Indian defence industry for forging business partnerships. The event will help boost investment, expand manufacturing capacities and capabilities, discover avenues for technology absorption and thus, contribute to furthering the target of $5-billion defence export by 2024. India aims to utilise this opportunity to further its business with the mantra of shared prosperity. The Government’s commitment to making India self-reliant with indigenous defence capabilities will be reaffirmed.