Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated DefExpo 2022 on Wednesday in Gandhinagar. At the India Pavilion, the Prime Minister also unveiled HTT-40 – the indigenous trainer aircraft designed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) The aircraft has state-of-the-art contemporary systems and has been designed with pilot-friendly features.
The Prime Minister also launched Mission DefSpace to develop innovative solutions for the Armed Forces in the space domain through the industry and start-ups. He also laid the foundation stone of the Deesa airfield in Gujarat.
The ‘Fourth Positive Indigenisation List’ of 101 items was also announced by Prime Minister during the opening ceremony.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said the DefExpo 2022 paints a picture of ‘New India’ and its capabilities whose resolve is being forged at the time of ‘Amrit Kaal’. Underlining the uniqueness of this edition of DefExpo, the Prime Minister said “this is the first defence expo where only Indian companies are participating and it features only Made in India equipment”.
“We are setting an example of the capabilities of India before the world. The Expo has more than 1,300 exhibitors which include the India Defence Industry, some joint ventures associated with Indian Defence Industry, MSMEs and more than 100 start-ups to,” he said.
The Prime Minister remarked that it provides a glimpse of the capability and possibility of India in one single frame. He further informed that more than 400 MoUs are being signed for the first time ever.
“The world’s expectations from India have increased, and I assure the world community that India will fulfil them. Therefore, this Defense Expo is also a symbol of global trust towards India,” he observed.
The Prime Minister, who also laid the foundation stone of the Deesa airfield in Gujarat, said that the forward airforce base will add to the security architecture of the country. Noting Deesa’s proximity with the Indo-Pak border, Modi said that now India is better prepared to respond to any misadventure on the western borders.
“After coming to the government, we decided to set up an operational base in Deesa, and this expectation of our forces is being fulfilled today. This region will now become an effective centre of security of the country”, Modi added.
Speaking on ‘Mission DefSpace”, PM said “space technology is an example of what security will mean for any strong nation in the future. Various challenges in this area have been reviewed and identified by the three services. We have to work fast to solve them.”
‘Mission Defence Space’, he continued, will not only encourage innovation and strengthen the forces but also provide new and innovative solutions. The Prime Minister highlighted that space technology is shaping new definitions of India’s generous space diplomacy, giving rise to new possibilities. “Many African countries and many other small countries are benefiting from this”, he added.
Prime Minister informed that there are more than 60 developing countries with whom India is sharing its space science. “The South Asia satellite is an effective example of this. By next year, ten ASEAN countries will also get real-time access to India’s satellite data. Even developed countries like Europe and America are using our satellite data”, he added.
Defence Export Increased eight times
In the defence sector, the Prime Minister said, new India is moving ahead with the mantra of Intent, Innovation and Implementation. Till eight years ago, India was recognised as the world’s largest defence importer. But New India showed intent, showed willpower and ‘Make in India’ is becoming a success story in the defence sector today. “Our defence exports have grown eight times in the last five years. We are exporting defence materials and equipment to more than 75 countries of the world. In 2021-22 Defence exports from India reached $1.59 billion i.e., about Rs 13,000 crore. And in the coming time, we have set a target to reach $5 billion i.e., Rs 40,000 crore,” he added.
Fourth Positive List
Throwing light on making India’s defence sector self-reliant, the Prime Minister highlighted that the armies have also finalised two lists of equipment which would be procured only within the country. This list of 101 such items is being released today. These decisions also show the potential of a self-reliant India. After the list, there will be 411 such equipment and equipment of the defence sector, which will only be bought under the “Make in India’.
Prime Minister informed that such a huge budget will strengthen the foundation of Indian companies and take them to new heights. He further added that it will be the youth of the nation that will benefit the most from it.
On the inaugural session, Defence Minister stated that the Indian defence sector is continuously marching on the path of national pride with full dedication. He termed the massive participation of over 1,300 Indian exhibitors along with their latest technologies, besides Defence Ministers, Service Chiefs and officials from more than 80 countries in DefExpo 2022 as a testament to a renewed confidence of the domestic and global business community in India’s emerging business potential.
He added that during the bilateral meetings at DefExpo and before, many countries have shown interest in the defence equipment/technologies/training systems being made in India, which reflects the growth of the defence sector.
After the inaugural ceremony, Rajnath Singh hosted IOR+ Defence Ministers’ Conclave. The conclave was attended by 40 countries, with 22 ministers addressing the conference, some of them in hybrid mode. The broad theme was ‘Challenges Opportunities and Collaborations in the Indian Ocean’.