Chennai: India’s mega defence exhibition, the DefExpo 2018, will begin in Chennai on Wednesday. The event will underscore India’s first serious attempt to project itself as a major military manufacturer.
The event will be formally inaugurated on April 12 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The event is happening even as work on the Tamil Nadu defence industrial corridor has begun. The corridor will be a quadrilateral extending from Chennai to Hosur, Coimbatore, Salem and Tiruchirappalli, opening new opportunities for the industry.
According to defence ministry, the message being sent out through the DefExpo — which extends up to April 14 is that while big players in the defence field are welcome, India has attained significant manufacturing capabilities.
“While showcasing the strengths of India’s public sector, it will also uncover India’s growing private industry and spreading MSME base for components and sub-systems,” the ministry said in a statement.
Around 677 exhibitors, mainly including 523 Indian companies and the rest being international ones, will participate. The response from foreign companies this time as compared to the previous DefExpo held in Goa in 2016 has not been good. About 232 foreign companies had participated in Goa, as compared to 154 this time.
“The overall participation this time is 10% lower than last time,” Dr Ajay Kumar, Secretary Defence Production of the MOD told reporters in a briefing in Delhi last week.
While the strength of Indian exhibitors is higher this time indicating a stronger focus on Make in India, the scheme’s landmark policy the Strategic Partnership model is facing implementation issues, putting several major strategic projects such as the Project 75-I submarines on hold.