Over 670 defence firms including 154 foreign defence manufacturers will participate in a biennial exhibition of weapons and military hardware which will be held near Chennai from 11 to 14 April.
Secretary defence production Ajay Kumar said that the 10th edition of the defence expo will be formally inaugurated by prime minister Narendra Modi on 12 April at Thiruvidanthai.
It will be also attended by official delegations from 47 countries including the US, the UK, Russia, Afghanistan, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Madagascar, Myanmar, Nepal, Portugal, Seychelles and Vietnam. 13 of these delegations will be at ministerial level.
“DefExpo 2018 will, for the first time, project India’s defence manufacturing capabilities to the world,” Kumar told a press conference.
The theme of the expo is India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub.
He said that the expo will also showcase strengths of India’s defence public sector undertakings besides uncovering the country’s growing private industry.
“671 exhibitors have confirmed their space booking in DefExpo as on 30 March, 2018. These include 517 Indian exhibitors and 154 international exhibitors. Nearly 15 per cent of the total exhibition space has been booked by MSMEs,” Kumar said.
Major international companies which confirmed their participation included Lockheed Martin, Boeing (US), Saab (Sweden), Airbus, Rafael (France), Rosonboron Exports, United Shipbuilding (Russia), BAE Systems (UK), Sibat (Israel), Wartsila (Finland), Rhode and Schwarz (Germany), among many others.
Kumar said that for the first time, India’s indigenously developed land, air and naval systems will be showcased.
The weapons and platforms to be displayed include the Tejas fighter jets, advanced towed artillery gun systems designed by the DRDO Arjun Mark 2 tank, Dhanush artillery guns.
To a question, he said that the government was considering 74 per cent FDI in certain specific areas of defence manufacturing to ensure transfer of technology.
According to current FDI policy, foreign investment up to 49 per cent is permitted under the automatic route.
Kumar said that India has produced defence equipment and platforms worth Rs 55,000 crore in the last fiscal.