In a major outreach to the friendly foreign countries as also to the defence manufacturing industries of the world, Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh chaired the Ambassadors’ Round Table for DefExpo 2022, in New Delhi on October 25, 2021. The Round Table was aimed to brief the Ambassadors of foreign missions about the planning, arrangements and other details of DefExpo 2022, which will be held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat between March 10-13, 2022.
More than 200 delegates, including Ambassadors, Heads of Missions and Defence Attaches attended the Round Table, reflecting the growing global interest in the Indian Defence space. Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Secretary (Defence Production) Shri Raj Kumar and other senior officials of Ministry of Defence & Government of Gujarat were also present.
Inviting the foreign delegates to attend DefExpo 2022, Asia’s largest defence exhibition, Shri Rajnath Singh said, India is open to conduct business on a mutually beneficially collaborative basis, in the spirit of give and take, for all-round welfare of everyone. He exuded confidence that DefExpo 2022 will bring all the latest technologies under one roof and provide a myriad of opportunities to the stakeholders in the aerospace & defence industry.
“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 Hon’ble 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 aerospace and defence ecosystem in India, which shall be ready to serve the defence requirements of our friendly countries also,” said Shri Rajnath Singh.
The Raksha Mantri thanked the foreign delegates for participating in DefExpo 2020 & Aero India 2021 and said DefExpo 2022 aims to further the benchmark of its previous editions with greater presence of foreign and Indian exhibitors, OEMs and foreign countries. “We are committed to supporting the partnerships that have been forged thus far as also form newer bonds for mutual growth,” he said.
Shri Rajnath Singh added that DefExpo 2022 will provide an overview of what India has been able to achieve in terms of defence R&D and production, application of modern technologies, liberalised collaborative policies introduced by the Government in last seven years. Saying that the Government is committed to furthering the defence business interests through synergistic growth, he expressed confidence that increased international participation will lead to development of mutually advantageous relationships between India & other countries.
The Raksha Mantri stated that the Indian aerospace and defence manufacturing sector is ready to soar to newer heights and it has the potential for R&D in space, cyberspace, futuristic capabilities and disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Block-chain, Virtual Reality, 3D Printing, Digital Frontier and Internet of Military Things.
Reaffirming the Government’s resolve to modernise the Armed Forces and make a strong & self-reliant defence industry, Shri Rajnath Singh said, various measures have been taken by the Government, including increasing defence capital outlay in the annual budget of 2021-22 by 18.75 % from the preceding year, which is the highest ever increment in the last 15 years. Other policy reforms include simplifying industrial licensing process; allowing 74% Foreign Direct Investment through automatic route and 100% with Government approvals for Critical technologies; introduction of Open General Export License policy; positive indigenisation lists of 209 items; launch of seven new Defence companies and opening up of testing & trial facilities for the private sector etc. The reforms in defence manufacturing are attracting greater interest from Indian and foreign defence manufacturers, innovators, MSMEs.
The Raksha Mantri appreciated the efforts of the Indian defence industry and thanked the foreign aerospace and defence companies for investing in the Indian defence growth story. “It is because of the collaborative efforts of entities from all over the world that our defence exports have grown by 334% in last five years and now India is exporting to more than 75 countries. Our export performance is a strong indicator of the quality and competitiveness of our defence products,” he said.
Shri Rajnath Singh also reiterated the Government’s commitment to the collective security system laid down in Chapter VII of the UN Charter which deals with action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression. “As a responsible nation, we wish to ensure a stable international security system through these collaborations and efforts,” he said.
On the occasion, the Raksha Mantri also launched DefExpo 2022 website (www.defexpo.gov.in). The website provides online services to exhibitors, besides hosting informative content about the various indigenous defence products and tourism, arts and crafts of Gujarat. The website is an enabler for exhibitors to register and book space online on a first-come-first-serve basis, make online payments, book conference halls and venues for Business-to-Business (B2B) meetings. The website is the first interface and will make the process of booking and information access effortless.
Trade visitors will be able to buy their tickets from the website for visiting the show during business days i.e. 10th & 11th March 2022. Free Entry is planned for the general public on 12th & 13th March. Defence publications and Media will have to register online through the website.
At DefExpo-2022, which coincides with ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations, 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 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 USD 5 Billion defence export by 2024. India aims to utilise this opportunity to further its business with the mantra of shared prosperity. The Indian Government’s commitment to make India self-reliant with indigenous defence capabilities will be reaffirmed.