The 11th biennial edition of DefExpo-2020 will be held in Lucknow from 5th to 8th February. As per the Ministry of Defence (MoD) statement, the main theme of the DefExpo India-2020 will be ‘India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub’ and focus will be on ‘Digital Transformation of Defence’. The choice of venue was decided following Defence Minister Rajnath Singh asked officials to explore the possibility of organising the event in Lucknow, which happens to be his Lok Sabha constituency.
The DefExpo-an international land, naval and internal homeland security systems exhibition offers an excellent opportunity for the Indian defence industry to showcase its capabilities and promote its export potential. The 2018 edition of DefExpo was held in Chennai.
Traditionally, Defexpo was held at New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan, the usual venue for such exhibitions. It travelled to Goa in 2016 when the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar decided to took it to his home state. Then, in 2018, Nirmala Sitharaman, who hails from Tamil Nadu, moved the mega event to Chennai. While shifting the venue, she had argued that the NDA government at the Centre was not at all Delhi-centric and had taken many prestigious events out of the national capital to other parts of the country. In the Chennai edition of Defexpo, over 50 countries had showcased their products, considered to be the biggest in Asia.
The latest edition of DefExpo in Lucknow will be a big push towards the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Defence Corridor, launched in August last year. In 2018, the government had announced to develop defence industrial corridor in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It has earmarked six nodal points for setting up of defence industrial corridor in Uttar Pradesh, which are Kanpur, Lucknow, Aligarh, Agra, Jhansi and Chitrakoot. The Uttar Pradesh government has already identified about 5,000 hectares for the corridor.
According to MoD statement, the international exhibition, which not only facilitates Business-to-Business (B2B) interaction with senior foreign delegations but also Government-to-Government (G2G) meetings and signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs). The exhibition will also highlight the emergence of UP as an attractive destination for investment in the defence sector and act as a platform for alliances and joint ventures in the defence industry.
The northern state has a strong defence industrial infrastructure. It has four units of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd at Lucknow, Kanpur, Korwa and Naini (Prayagraj), nine ordnance factory units, including Kanpur, Korwa, Shahjahanpur, Firozabad and one unit of Bharat Electronics Limited at Ghaziabad. One of the two Defence Industrial Corridors (DICs) of India is also planned in Uttar Pradesh. The Corridor will encourage Defence Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), including our Indian defence industry and promote Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs). The other DIC is proposed in Tamil Nadu.
The DefExpo will provide an opportunity to the major foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to collaborate with the Indian defence industry and help promote ‘Make in India’ initiative of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. The DefExpo would provide a unique platform for Defence industry OEMs, exhibitors and private industry to display their latest innovations and capabilities.
Ministerial-level delegations from the foreign countries and visitors from all over the country as well as abroad are expected to visit DefExpo and witness India’s emergence as a major manufacturing hub providing attractive opportunities for co-development and co-production of defence equipment and systems not only for our defence forces but also for export to the world.