Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh reviewed, in New Delhi on February 18, 2022, the preparations of DefExpo-2022, Asia’s largest exhibition on land, naval and homeland security systems, to be held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat in March. The event is being organised as one of the largest defence international exhibitions of the world. There has been greater domestic and international interest in this 12th edition of DefExpo, since India relaxed its health protocols owing to the reduction in COVID-19 cases. So far, 930 exhibitors have registered for the mega event and the numbers are expected to rise beyond 1,000 in the days ahead. Foreign Defence Ministers confirmations are also being received and are comparable with the previous edition of the event which was held in February 2020 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh during the pre-COVID times.
Noting that the relaxation in COVID protocols has generated greater interest in DefExpo-2022, Shri Rajnath Singh extended the event by one day. The exhibition will now be held between March 10-14, 2022. It will facilitate defence business through three business days and makes it inclusive for young entrepreneurs and college/school millennial of Gujarat during two public days.
The DefExpo-2022 will be held as a hybrid exhibition, with stalls in both physical and virtual realms. This will ensure greater engagement as the exhibitors will be able to cater to both physical and virtual attendees. The Raksha Mantri was briefed that virtual attendees could participate in seminars, interact with the exhibitors & representatives; hold Business-to-Business (B2B) meetings and view product details and supporting videos.
The mega exhibition is being planned in a three venue format – exhibition at the Helipad Exhibition Center (HEC); Events and Seminars at the Mahatma Mandir Convention and Exhibition Center (MCEC) and live demonstration for the public at Sabarmati Riverfront. Safety protocols such as compulsory wearing of facemask, non-contact interactions, respiratory hygiene etc will be implemented at all venues in line with the prevailing health protocols.
To instil a sense of pride, the theme of the event has been christened, ‘Path to Pride’. In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the event will showcase India’s resolve to be first amongst firsts. With indigenous technological and logistic prowess at the forefront, the event will invigorate the defence industry, start-ups and MSMEs to cement solid partnerships with attending foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). The DefExpo-2022 is symbolic of India’s resolve to further its Business interests and take global initiatives towards furthering peace and security in the region. Shri Rajnath Singh appreciated the arrangements made by Ministry of Defence in collaboration with the Government of Gujarat and exuded confidence of a safe and successful DefExpo-2022.
A DefExpo-2022 mobile app was also launched by the Raksha Mantri during the review. It is an interactive and user-friendly interface for all issues related to the event. The app, available on the Android/iOS platforms, contains features to support exhibitors, attendees and the media. It provides the information on the exhibitors, schedule, speakers, venue maps, driving directions, publications as well as notifications to visitors and exhibitors. New features, such as delegate hospitality management and structured feedback including cleanliness related issues, have been added to the app.
Raksha Rajya Mantri Shri Ajay Bhatt, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar, Vice Chief of the Army Staff Lt Gen Manoj Pande, Financial Advisor (Defence Services) Shri Sanjiv Mittal and other senior civil & military officials of MoD were present on the occasion.
It may be recalled that on September 02, 2021, a Memorandum of Understanding, defining the roles and responsibilities, was signed between the Government of India and the Government of Gujarat, on the margins of the Raksha Mantri’s review of DefExpo 2022 at Ekta Nagar. The Raksha Mantri had then brought out that there would be wider participation in keeping with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and the Government’s policies to promote the growth of indigenous defence manufacturing sector.