Rajnath rolls out red carpet for defence attaches ahead of Aero India 2023 - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Monday 9 January 2023

Rajnath rolls out red carpet for defence attaches ahead of Aero India 2023

Says “Make in India neither isolationist nor meant for us alone”


By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 10th Jan 23


With Aero India 2023 – India’s biennial aerospace exhibition – barely a month away, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh invited the Delhi-based defence attaches of  more than 80 countries to encourage their respective defence industries to attend.


Addressing an “Ambassadors’ Roundtable” in New Delhi on Monday, Rajnath said the 14th Aero India, Asia’s largest air exhibition, would be held in Bengaluru from February 13-17.


He said Aero India 2023 would “provide an opportunity for the Indian aerospace industry to showcase its products, technologies and solutions.”


With the Covid-19 pandemic having hit India’s last two defence exhibitions – Aero India 2021 and DefExpo 2022 – by discouraging foreign defence firms from sending representatives, the defence minister is optimistic of a large turnout this time round.


He said the five-day event, with the theme ‘The runway to a billion opportunities” would cover over 108,000 square metres. Participation had already been confirmed by over 645 exhibitors from 80 countries. 


Talking up the success of Aero India 2021, Rajnath stated that it had been attended by over 600 exhibitors physically and another 108 virtually. He added that 63 countries had participated and that around 3,000 Business-2-Business meetings were held.


He similarly termed DefExpo 2022 a huge success, with the “unparalleled participation of over 1,340 exhibitors…” with 451 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), Transfer of Technology (ToT) agreements, product launches and orders to domestic businesses, worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore.


Describing India’s defence industrial capabilities, Rajnath said manufacturing capabilities were growing, “particularly in the emerging areas of drones, cyber-tech, Artificial Intelligence, radars, etc.”


This had led to India emerging as a leading defence exporter, with exports having grown by eight times in the last five years and with India now exporting defence goods to over 75 countries, he said.


The defence minister emphasised that the “Make in India” policy was neither isolationist, nor meant for India alone.


“Our self-reliance initiative is the beginning of a new paradigm of partnership with our partner countries. Partnerships are being made with global defence industry giants,” he said.


Rajnath cited the recent contract between Tata Advanced Systems Ltd and Airbus Defence and Space, Spain for manufacturing C-295 aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF).


Rajnath Singh stated: “We are a major defence buyer as well as a significant defence exporter. When we are procuring defence equipment from our valued partner nations, very often they share the technical know-how, set up manufacturing plants in India and work with our local firms for various sub-systems. And when we export our defence equipment, we offer our full support towards the capability development of the buyer through sharing of technology, training, co-production etc.,” he said. 

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