Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh at the Ambassadors’ Round Table in New Delhi Photograph:( Twitter )
The defence ministry said more than 200 delegates, including ambassadors, heads of missions and defence attaches, attended the roundtable, reflecting the growing global interest in the Indian defence space
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday invited foreign defence companies to participate in the next edition of the DefExpo, saying India is open to conducting business on a mutually beneficial and collaborative approach in the spirit of "give and take".
In an address at an ambassadors' roundtable 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.
He said the upcoming 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.
Gandhinagar in Gujarat will host the 12th edition of India's mega defence exhibition, the DefExpo, from March 11-13 next year.
The roundtable was aimed at briefing the ambassadors of foreign missions on the planning, arrangements and other details of DefExpo 2022.
Had an amazing interaction with the Ambassadors of several countries at the Ambassadors’ Round Table in New Delhi.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) October 25, 2021
Invited the foreign defence companies to participate in Asia’s largest defence exhibition in Gandhinagar, Gujarat to be held next year.https://t.co/BBWMwlNO3z pic.twitter.com/9riol39y4Z
The defence ministry said more than 200 delegates, including ambassadors, heads of missions and defence attaches, attended the roundtable, reflecting the growing global interest in the Indian defence space.
Singh also reiterated the government's commitment to the collective security system laid down in Chapter VII of the UN Charter which deals with action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression.
"As a responsible nation, we wish to ensure a stable international security system through these collaborations and efforts," he said.
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar and other senior officials of the ministry and the government of Gujarat were also present.
"Inviting the foreign delegates to attend DefExpo 2022, Asia's largest defence exhibition, Rajnath Singh said India is open to conduct business on a mutually beneficially collaborative basis, in the spirit of give and take, for all-round welfare of everyone," the defence ministry said in a statement.
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, liberalised 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.
"Resurgent India, where defence manufacturing is an identified pillar of growth, will display its ability to take lead at DefExpo 2022. I am confident that pursuing the vision of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, DefExpo-2022 will sow the seeds of successful new ventures and international partnerships," Singh said.
He said a strong defence ecosystem in India shall be ready to serve the defence requirements of its friendly countries.
Singh appreciated the efforts of the Indian defence industry and thanked the foreign aerospace and defence companies for investing in the Indian defence growth story.
"It is because of the collaborative efforts of entities from all over the world that our defence exports have grown by 334 per cent in last five years and now India is exporting to more than 75 countries," he said.
"Our export performance is a strong indicator of the quality and competitiveness of our defence products," 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 last year. 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.