The 11th edition of Asia’s largest defence expo was recently held in Lucknow from 5th February to 9th February 2020. India’s military exhibition, which is organized once every two years, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The primary aim of this expo was to showcase the country’s potential as a manufacturing hub for global defence.
Not only has DefExpo 2020 emerged to be India’s largest platform for defence exhibitions but this year it made news as one of the leading defence expos in the world with more than 1,000 manufacturers and 150 companies participating in the five-day-long event. Prominent multinational corporations like Rafael and Elbit Systems as well as India’s own government agency Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) were among those present.
Speaking at the inauguration, Modi said he was doubly happy in welcoming everyone to DefExpo 2020 not only as India’s Prime Minister but also as a sitting Member of Parliament from the state of Uttar Pradesh.
“This is a very big opportunity for the people as well as the youth of India. Make in India will not only increase India’s security but new opportunities for employment in the defence sector will also be created. It will boost defence exports in the future,” he said.
India as a Market and an Enormous Opportunity for the Whole World
The present DefExpo is not only evidence of India’s diversity but also the vastness and pervasiveness of its participation in the world. It is proof of India successfully forging ahead in the new role it has decided to take up in the field of defence and security. The expo showcased the various industries related to defence as well as the high level of confidence that the rest of the world places in India. Those who keep a close watch on economy surely know how India is not just a market but an enormous opportunity for the whole world.
The Theme of DefExpo 2020 Reflects the Challenges of Tomorrow
Modi explained that the sub theme of the expo, ‘Digital Transformation of Defence’ reflected forthcoming challenges and worries that the country might be faced with. As life continues to become technologically driven, security concerns are becoming increasingly grave. World over defence forces are evolving newer technologies and India is trying to match that pace by developing several prototypes.
“Our goal is to develop at least 25 products of artificial intelligence in the defence sector during the next five years,” said Modi.
Realising Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Dream
Modi offered yet another reason as to why the expo in Lucknow is of prime significance. Apparently, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had dreamed of indigenising defence manufacturing.
“Following his vision, we accelerated the manufacturing of many defence products. We issued 217 defence licenses in 2014 itself. The number has grown to 460 in the last five years. India is manufacturing everything from artillery guns andaircraft carriers to frigate submarines today. India’s share in global defence exports has also increased. In the last two years India has exported about 17 thousand crores of defence products. Now our aim is to increase defence exports to five billion dollars,” he elaborated.
Nation’s Policy Must Focus on Research and Development in Defence
The last five to six years have seen the Indian government focus closely on research and development. Necessary infrastructure is being drawn up in the country to facilitate adequate R&D as well as manufacturing in defence. Modi also said that manufacturing should not be restricted to government institutions alone and it should have equal participation from the private sector as well.
New Objectives for New India
Reportedly, two well-sized defence manufacturing corridors are underway in India – one in Uttar Pradesh and the other in Tamil Nadu. In Uttar Pradesh, nodes will be set up in Agra, Aligarh, Chitrakoot, Jhansi, Lucknow and Kanpur. New targets have been set to give further push to defence manufacturing in India. The goal is to raise the number of ‘micro small and medium enterprises’ in the field of defence production to 15,000 in the next five years.
At DefExpo 2020, leading ISO 9001:2015 certified & PSARA licensed security services organization IPRA Security Solutions Pvt. Ltd. offered manpower and hostesses to Elbit Systems, which evidently resulted in increased enquiries from other multinationals. Backed by over 2,000 security guards and currently serving more than 75 clients in Delhi NCR alone, IPRA was asked to retain its staffing solutions for future exhibitions and events as well.
“From the looks of it as the country continues to grow, we are growing as well,” said R. N. Chaudhary, IPRA Director, who has created a name for his brand by providing security consultancy, facility management, best security guard company , electronic security and event security solutions across Delhi NCR.