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DefExpo opens today, focus on showcasing India's potential to become manufacturing hub

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LUCKNOW (PTI): India's biennial DefExpo will kickstart in Lucknow on Wednesday with the aim of showcasing the potential of the country to become a global defence manufacturing hub.

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said delegates from 70 countries and 172 foreign military manufacturers will attend the five-day mega exhibition. As many as 856 Indian defence firms will also showcase their products at the event.

"We want to make India a hub of defence manufacturing. The DefExpo is a step in this direction," Singh said.

"The participation of a large number of foreign firms in the DefExpo reflects India's growing stature," he said.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said his government has been encouraging defence manufacturing in the state. He said two Dornier aircraft of aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will be used by the state government for civil purposes on two routes.

It will be for the first time that the 19-seater aircraft will be used by a state government for civilian purposes.

Singh said India cannot continue to rely on imports for defence platforms and the country has to create its defence manufacturing space.

"By end of this decade, I am confident that India will be among the top three economies in the world. The indigenous defence production will contribute significantly in taking India's economy forward," Singh said.

The 11th edition of DefExpo promises to bring new technologies and technological solutions, and a single platform for defence manufacturing companies from India and abroad to showcase their products and services in the defence sector.

The main theme of the DefExpo India -- 2020 is 'India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub' and the focus will be on 'Digital Transformation of Defence', a release said.

Reflecting the government's focus on 'Make in India', DefExpo 2020 would offer an opportunity for the Indian defence industry to showcase its capabilities and promote its export potential.

The formal inauguration of the event by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be held today  followed by a live demonstration of naval systems, aero systems and land systems.

Singh said in magnitude and endeavour, the exhibition is unparalleled in recent times and will present a golden opportunity for interaction and brainstorming to innovators, manufacturers, market leaders, government and other stakeholders.

Highlighting the special features of the DefExpo, the Defence Minister said the 'India-Africa Defence Ministers Conclave' will be organised for the first time in which more than 30 African countries will participate.

Ministers from over 40 countries will take part in this edition of DefExpo, making it an important opportunity for countries to further strengthen defence ties with India, he said.

The Defence Minister underlined that the DefExpo will give an opportunity to explore the capabilities of indigenous defence industry in partnership with prominent countries like the US, Russia and South Korea, and will lead to strengthening ties.

He said the DefExpo will also be a good platform for Indian companies to display their innovations and future possibilities in areas like military power, artificial intelligence, cyber security, e-management, augmented and virtual reality and future forces.

Live demonstration will be done for systems which are designed or built in India.

Three parallel business seminars, organised by industry associations and business chambers, will also be held on the opening day. The themes of the seminars will be 'Skill Development in Aviation & Defence', 'India France Defence Industry Seminar' and 'Indo- Israel -- Opportunities in Defence Cooperation- Future Vectors of the Digital Battlefield'.

The fifth India Russia Military Industry Conference will also be held on the sidelines of DefExpo with over 100 Russian and over 200 Indian industry leaders expected to participate.

Singh will preside over the African Defence Ministers' Conclave and host a dinner in the honour of African Defence Ministers.

There will be live demonstrations of large platforms and also flying display at the Gomti riverfront and the DefExpo venue.

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