Thiruvidanthai: India's mega defence exhibition — the DefExpo — began in Thiruvidanthai on Wednesday with participation of major global and domestic military firms, which are eyeing billions of dollars of contract as part of the country's military modernisation programme.
The NDA government is trying to project the 10th edition of the event as first serious attempt to transform India — the largest importer of military platforms and weapons — into a hub of military manufacturing.
India is expected to spend close to $ 300 billion in the next five years in procuring defence equipment and almost all major global defence firms are eyeing a slice of it.
Though the four-day-long DefExpo, on the outskirts of Chennai and close to the temple town of Mahabalipuram, began from Wednesday, it will formally be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in a tweet, said “For the first time, India will be showcasing its defence export potential at @DefExpoIndia.”
According to the Defence Ministry, over 670 defence firms, including 154 foreign manufacturers, are participating in the exhibition of weapons and military hardware.
While showcasing strengths of India's substantial public sector, it will also uncover the country's growing private industry and spreading MSME base for components and sub-systems, the organisers said.
Indigenously developed military helicopters, aircraft, missiles and rockets, capabilities to manufacture submarines, frigates and corvettes would be showcased at the event.
The tag line of DefExpo this year is “‘India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub” to showcase India's capability in export of defence systems and components.
Indian participation include private and public giants like Tata, L&T, Kalyani, Bharat Forge, Mahindra, DRDO, HAL, Ordnance Factories, and many others.
It is being attended by official delegations from over 47 countries, including the US, the UK, Russia, Afghanistan, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Madagascar, Myanmar, Nepal, Portugal, Seychelles and Vietnam.
The theme of the expo is “India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub.”
Major international companies, which are participating at the expo include Lockheed Martin, Boeing (US), Saab (Sweden), Airbus, Rafael (France), Rosonboron Exports, United Shipbuilding (Russia), BAE Systems (UK), Sibat (Israel), Wartsila (Finland) and Rhode and Schwarz (Germany).
The weapons and platforms being displayed include the Tejas fighter jets, advanced towed artillery gun systems (ATAGS) designed by the DRDO Arjun Mark 2 tank and Dhanush artillery guns.
The DRDO's exhibits include the Nirbhay missile system with launcher, autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (AUGV), MBT Arjun Mk-I tank, Astra missile, low level transportable radar (LLTR) system, medium power radar (MPR) system and Varunastra — heavy weight anti submarine electric torpedo.
Described as the "largest" to be conducted so far, the 10th edition of DefExpo was being organised over 2.90 lakh square feet at Thiruvidanthai, located on the scenic East Coast Road (ECR).
Live demonstration of large platforms, flying display by HAL and IAF and various business sessions have been scheduled.
Further, Indian Navy ships will be available for onboard viewing on Chennai harbour on 13 and 15, according to officials.
Updated Date: Apr 11, 2018 19:40 PM