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India to highlight achievement in defence R&D at DefExpo in Gujarat

NEW DELHI (PTI): The next edition of the DefExpo will provide an overview of what India has been able to achieve in terms of defence research and development, production and application of modern technologies for use by the military, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday.

Gandhinagar in Gujarat will host the 12th edition of India's mega defence exhibition – the DefExpo – from March 11-13 next year.

In an address at an ambassadors' round-table on the upcoming expo, Singh said India's defence exports have grown by 334 per cent in the last five years and now India is exporting military equipment to more than 75 countries.

"Our export performance is a strong indicator of the quality and competitiveness of our defence products," he said.

The Defence Minister said he was sanguine that the exhibition will bring all the latest technologies under one roof and provide a myriad of opportunities to the stakeholders in the aerospace and defence industry.

"The Defence Expo-2022 is going to provide an overview of what India has been able to achieve in terms of defence R and D and production, application of modern technologies, liberalized collaborative policies that we have introduced in a short period of 5-7 years," Singh said.

He told the envoys that the participation of their respective countries at the expo will lead to the development of "mutually advantageous relationships" in the defence sector.

"India is open to doing business on a mutually beneficially collaborative basis, in the spirit of giving and take, for the all-round welfare of everyone," he said.

"At the same time, I can also assure you that the state of Gujarat has such richness of culture, art, food and serenity to offer that DefExpo-2022 will leave a lasting imprint on the participating delegates," he added.

The focus of the exhibition will be to showcase India as an emerging hub for the manufacturing of military hardware.

"The Defence Ministry will remain available and proactively engage through the next four-plus months to develop and build DefExpo-2022 as one of the marquee events as India celebrates its 75 years of independence as Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav," Singh said.

Major global and domestic military firms are expected to participate in the biennial edition of the DefExpo with their latest weaponry and platforms.

The 11th edition of DefExpo had taken place in Lucknow in 2020.

The theme of the upcoming DefExpo will be "India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub", officials said.

The Government is expected to highlight measures at the event to transform India into a hub of military manufacturing.

The Government has initiated a series of measures in the last couple of years to encourage the domestic defence industry.

In August last year, Singh announced that India will stop the import of 101 weapons and military platforms like transport aircraft, light combat helicopters, conventional submarines, cruise missiles and sonar systems by 2024.

A second negative list, putting import restrictions on 108 military weapons and systems such as next-generation corvettes, airborne early warning systems, tank engines and radars, was issued recently.

In May last year, the Government announced increasing the FDI limit from 49 per cent to 74 per cent under the automatic route in the defence sector.

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