DefExpo 2022: First DefExpo solely for Indian firms starts in Gandhinagar today - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Monday 17 October 2022

DefExpo 2022: First DefExpo solely for Indian firms starts in Gandhinagar today

In a first, the DefExpo display will include the simulator of India’s futuristic 5th-generation Advanced Combat Aircraft (AMCA)


By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 18th Oct 22


The Helipad Exhibition Centre in Gandhinagar is abuzz in the controlled chaos that characterises air and defence show venues on the eve of their inauguration. India’s premier defence exhibition, Defence Exposition 2022 (called DefExpo 22), begins on Tuesday, but exhibitors are still touching up their displays, small groups of policemen are searching for their piquets and security personnel are erecting their metal detectors and X-ray machines.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate DefExpo 22 on Thursday. 


Defexpo 22 was to be held in February this year but, with foreign exhibitors reluctant to come to India in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, the defence ministry postponed it indefinitely. It is now being held from October 18-22, with the event being the first-ever DefExpo being held exclusively for Indian companies.


The ministry of defence (MoD) pointed out that “companies, Indian subsidiaries of foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), division of companies registered in India and exhibitors having joint ventures with Indian companies will be considered as Indian participants.”


Organised in the largest-ever area of over one lakh square metres (the previous edition was 76,000 square metres) and with a record registration of 1,340 companies, DefExpo 2022 is set to be the biggest defence exhibition till date, said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday.


The defence minister said that seventy five countries will participate in DefExpo 2022. The minister 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 the IOR+ conclave. 


For years, successive defence expositions were organised by the MoD’s Defence Exhibitions Organisation (DEO) in alternate years in New Delhi, interspersed by Aero India shows in Bengaluru, in the odd years in between.


This tradition was broken by the first National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, when Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held DefExpo 2018 in Chennai and Rajnath Singhwho held DefExpo 2020 in Lucknow. Now Rajnath is holding his second DefExpo in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state.


DefExpo 22 intends to highlight the strong linkages between the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) on the one hand; and industry and academia on the other. The MoD has announced that the DRDO will display  a wide range of 430 products encompassing strategic and tactical weapon systems, defence equipment and technologies. 


“The 12th edition of Asia’s largest defence event will be highlighting the theme ‘Path to Pride’, aligned with ‘India at 75’, and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India), encouraging the industry as well as the citizens to join in and contribute towards nation building. It aims to further the narrative of ‘Make in India, Make for the World’”, stated the MoD in a press release.


Also on show will be several DRDO initiatives such as the Technology Development Fund (TDF), Dare to Dream and other similar schemes to support academia, start-ups, micro, small and medium enterprises and large industries.


DefExpo 22 will feature static displays, live demonstrations, seminars and immersive experience zones. These will be spread across three separate locations: Including the Mahatma Mandir Convention & Exhibition Centre, Helipad Exhibition Centre, and Sabarmati River Front. 


In a first, the display will include the simulator of India’s futuristic 5th-generation Advanced Combat Aircraft (AMCA), along with other augmented and virtual reality naval, land and air product simulators. 


There will also be a sprawling 1200 square metre outdoor display, featuring 18 static exhibits. These will include the Border Surveillance System (BOSS), Laser Fence System (LFS), the air-launched BrahMos cruise missile, the Infantry Combat Vehicle with composite Hull (CICV), 155mm x 52 calibre Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), the Prahar missile, Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) and the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM).


During the exhibition, there will be a string of major seminars, and discussions. Among these is one event – Bandhan – in which the DRDO will handover licenses of technologies it developed to Indian industries for manufacture. 

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