Uday India: "Rising Aatmanirbharta in Defence Sector"

May 18, 2022

As the line between the universe of military systems, services, a related spin-off (technologies from military to civilian domains) or spin-on (technologies from civilian to military domains) products and wider civilian products are getting blurred day by day, military exhibitions dis- play more and more dual-use systems apart from primarily military intensive products and services. To illustrate further, mainstream military jets and helicopters – combat fighters, transport, reconnaissance, and refuellers – perform at different exhibitions, while dual-use systems like unmanned systems (both combat and non-combat versions) also find prominent places in such exhibitions. Earlier versions of Defexpo used to be confined to hangers and halls, unlike Aero India, where different types of jets use to display their capabilities in the air, recent versions have started displaying fire powers of systems like main battle tanks or artilleries in open to denote a better picture of mainstream combat systems.

Different types of military exhibitions like Defexpo or AeroIndia suggest that India conducts at least two or three big military and dual-use exhibitions every year, organized primarily by the Ministry of Defence, Home Affairs and Civil Aviation with active support from various industry bodies like the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Associated Chamber of Commerce (ASSOCHAM), PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) and many others.

Of late, especially in the last seven to eight years, among other big exhibitions, which are held in the same cities, Defexpo editions have changed locations. From Pragati Maidan in Delhi, Defexpo in recent editions has been held in Lucknow, Chennai and Goa. This time, it will be held in Gandhinagar. If symbolism is of any indication, the three previous venues were held in respective defence ministers’ states (late Manohar Parrikar – Goa, Nirmala Sitharaman – Chennai and Rajnath Singh – Lucknow), this time it is held in the Indian Prime Minister’s home state.

Variables are the ones, which need attention and autopsy. Defexpo 2022 in all likelihood will see deeper intensity as well as wider diversification in all aspects of military equipment and services. First, unlike previous editions, pre-exhibition webinars and deliberations have already happened two months before it starts, indicating the degree of seriousness that it could entail for all stakeholders. [Uday India]

Deba R Mohanty, May 19, 2022