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Rajnath reviews preparations for DefExpo

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during a meeting to review the preparations of DefExpo-2022, in New Delhi. Union MoS of Defence Ajay Bhatt, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar and other dignitaries are aslo seen. a PTI Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI):  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has reviewed preparations for the upcoming DefExpo, billed as Asia's largest exhibition of military platforms and equipment.

Gandhinagar in Gujarat will host the 12th edition of DefExpo from March 10-14.

The event was earlier scheduled for four days beginning March 10, but the defence ministry on Friday said Singh has extended it by one day.

"The DefExpo-2022 is symbolic of India's resolve to further its business interests and take global initiatives towards furthering peace and security in the region," the ministry said.

It said 930 exhibitors have registered for the mega event so far and the number is expected to rise beyond 1,000 in the days ahead.

After Singh reviewed the preparations, it said the event is being organised as one of the largest international exhibitions of military platforms.

"The event is being organised as one of the largest defence international exhibitions of the world. There has been greater domestic and international interest in this 12th edition of DefExpo since India relaxed its health protocols owing to the reduction in COVID-19 cases," the ministry said in a statement.

It said confirmations of participation have been received from several foreign and defence ministers.

Officials said over 55 countries have confirmed their participation at the five-day mega event.

Noting that the relaxation in Covid protocols has generated greater interest in DefExpo-2022, Singh extended the event by one day, according to the ministry.

"It will facilitate defence business through three business days and makes it inclusive for young entrepreneurs and college/school millennials of Gujarat during two public days," it said.

The DefExpo-2022 will be held as a hybrid exhibition, with stalls to operate in both physical and virtual realms.

"This will ensure greater engagement as the exhibitors will be able to cater to both physical and virtual attendees," the ministry said, adding those attending virtually could participate in seminars, interact with the exhibitors and hold business-to-business (B2B) meetings.

To instil a sense of pride, the ministry said, the theme of the event has been christened as 'Path to Pride'.

"In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the event will showcase India's resolve to be first amongst firsts," the ministry said.

"With indigenous technological and logistic prowess at the forefront, the event will invigorate the defence industry, start-ups and MSMEs to cement solid partnerships with attending foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)," it said.

It said the DefExpo is being planned in a three venue format -- exhibitions to be held at the Helipad Exhibition Center (HEC), events and seminars to take place at the Mahatma Mandir Convention and Exhibition Center (MCEC) and live demonstration for the public to be at Sabarmati riverfront.

"Rajnath Singh appreciated the arrangements made by ministry of defence in collaboration with the government of Gujarat and exuded confidence of a safe and successful DefExpo-2022," the ministry said.

It said safety protocols such as compulsory wearing of facemask, non-contact interactions, respiratory hygiene, etc. will be implemented at all venues in line with the prevailing health protocols.

A DefExpo-2022 mobile app was also launched by Singh during the review.

Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar, Vice Chief of the Army Lt Gen Manoj Pande attended the review meet.

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