75 countries participating, DefExpo2022 grows big in shadow of global arms race

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, October 17: Russian invasion of Ukraine has sent countries hiking their defence budgets, some like Japan even doubling, setting off global arms race, while India makes a determined bid to get a slice of the market with the 12th edition of the DefExpo in Gandhinagar, which is stated to be the largest in Asia.

Organised on the theme ‘Path to Pride’, DefExpo will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 19, while Defence Minister on Monday Rajnath Singh held a curtain raiser event in which he said that the mega event will showcase the growing prowess of the domestic defence industry. The biennial exhibition has been organised to support, showcase and forge partnerships for the Indian aerospace and defence manufacturing sectors with Indian as well as global customers.

Singh said that DefExpo 2022 aims to pitch India at the forefront of the leading nations in the defence and aerospace sectors in the next 25 years. “The collaborations among all the stakeholders – public and private sectors, MSMEs, academia, start-ups and Research & Development establishments – aim to provide innovative ideas and state-of-the-art products to the world,” Singh said in Gandhinagar.

Organised in the largest-ever total area of over one lakh sqm (previous edition being 76,000 sqm) and with record registration of 1,340 companies, DefExpo 2022 is set to be the biggest defence exhibition till date. For the first time, the event has been organised in a four-venue format. The inaugural ceremony and seminars will be held at Mahatma Mandir Convention and Exhibition Centre; Exhibition at Helipad Exhibition Centre; Live demonstrations at Sabarmati River Front and ship visits for public at Porbandar.

DefExpo 2022 will be the first-ever edition exclusively for Indian companies. Indian companies, Indian subsidiaries of Foreign OEMs, Division of company registered in India, Exhibitor having Joint Venture with an Indian company will be considered as Indian participants.

“The DefExpo 2022 will also mark the celebration of one year of the formation of the seven new defence companies, carved out of the erstwhile Ordnance Factory Board. All these companies will participate in DefExpo for the first time, while 451 partnerships in terms of MoUs, transfer of technology agreements and product launches, almost double than the last edition, are expected during the Bandhan ceremony on October 20,” said the Ministry of Defence in an official statement.

Seventy five countries will be participating in DefExpo 2022. Singh will host the second India-Africa Defence Dialogue (IADD) on October 18, while the Indian Ocean Region plus (IOR+) conclave will take place on October 19. “More than 53 African countries have been invited for IADD and 44 for IOR+ conclave. Several Defence Ministers from Africa and the IOR+ region have confirmed their participation,” added the Ministry.

Live demonstrations showcasing the equipment and skill set of the Armed Forces, DPSUs and Industry will be held on all five days at Sabarmati River Front through active participation and synchronised efforts at all levels. The demonstrations include Sarang Acrobatic display, search and rescue, combat free fall and paratrooper activities.

“Another highlight of the event will be the biggest-ever drone-show by IIT Delhi start-up M/s Botlabs, which is an iDEX winner. Around 1,600 drones will light up the sky during the show on October 19, which will be a public event,” said the Ministry, adding that for the first time, ‘Invest for Defence’, targeted to promote investment in the defence sector in the country both by the Indian industry as well Foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers, will be held.

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