Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Monday chaired a roundtable of ambassadors from friendly foreign countries and invited international defence firms to take part in Asia’s largest defence exhibition, DefExpo 2022, which will be held in Gandhinagar from March 10-13, 2022.
“More than 200 delegates, including ambassadors, heads of missions and defence attaches attended the roundtable, reflecting the growing global interest in the Indian defence space,” the defence ministry said in a statement. The minister briefed the delegates about the planning, arrangements and other details of the exhibition.
The focus of India’s flagship defence exhibition is on projecting the country as an emerging defence manufacturing hub — one of the top priorities for the government in the defence sector. Singh said he was confident that DefExpo 2022 will bring all the latest technologies under one roof and provide myriad opportunities to all stakeholders.
“A resurgent India, where defence manufacturing is an identified pillar of growth, will display its ability to take the lead at DefExpo 2022. It will sow the seeds of successful new ventures and international partnerships to promote shared prosperity, boost investment, expand manufacturing and bolster the aerospace and defence ecosystem in India, which shall be ready to serve the defence requirements of our friendly countries also,” the minister said.
The event comes at a time when the government has sharpened its focus on promoting self-reliance in the defence manufacturing sector and positioning itself as an exporter of military hardware.
DefExpo was traditionally held in Delhi until 2014 after which it has seen a string of new venues — Goa (2016), Chennai (2018) and Lucknow (2020). The venue was shifted to Goa when Manohar Parrikar was the defence minister, it moved to Chennai when Nirmala Sitharaman held the portfolio and it was staged in Lucknow with Rajnath Singh as the defence minister.
From raising foreign direct investment (FDI) in defence manufacturing to creating a separate budget for buying locally-made military hardware and notifying two lists of weapons/equipment that cannot be imported, the government has taken a raft of measures to boost self-reliance in the defence sector over the last two years.