CHENNAI: With a strong pitch for the Modi government’s “Make In India” programme, the latest edition of Defexpo 2018 opens on the outskirts of Chennai on Wednesday, bringing together a large number of exhibitors involved in manufacturing of military inventory items.
While Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will witness the inauguration and live demonstrations at the Defexpo 2018 on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the event on Thursday and formally inaugurate it.. On all the four days of the defence exhibition to be held at Thiruvidanthai, on the East Coast Road, will have live demonstrations of the naval, air and land systems. The theme of the exhibition will be “India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub”.
The mega event will witness participation of 162 foreign companies and 539 Indian firms. The total cost of the exhibition is estimated to be around Rs. 800 crores with the Defence Ministry spending about Rs. 100 crores. The exhibition will be spread over 2.90 lakh square feet while the last one at Goa in 2016 was spread across 2.25 lakh square feet. On April 14, the last day of the exhibition, general visitors will be allowed free entry to the venue.
The exhibition will witness participation from 47 countries, including the U.S., the U.K. Russia, Sweden and Vietnam. US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster will also be a star visitor to the exhibition as it will have 19 US companies displaying their military inventories. Maldives has declined India’s invitation to participate in the exhibition which is being seen as a snub to New Delhi as it was critical of imposition of emergency in the island.
Indigenously developed land, air and naval systems will be displayed for the first time, including the Tejas fighter jet, advanced towed artillery gun systems, designed by the DRDO, Arjun Mark II tank and Dhanush artillery guns.
Ms. Sitharaman has already indicated that several countries have shown interest in India’s Brahmos missile system. The NDA government’s attempt is to showcase India’s capabilities as a credible defence manufacturing hub at the 10th edition of the Defence expo.