PM Modi inaugurates 'biggest ever' DefExpo in Lucknow, focus on 'Make in India'
Lucknow, Feb 05: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated DefExpo 2020, with the aim to showcase India's potential as a global defence manufacturing hub.
The main theme of the Expo is 'India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub' and the focus will be on 'Digital Transformation of Defence'.
Inaugurating the 11th edition of DefExpo here, Modi said a country of the size of India cannot entirely depend on imports and added the number of defence licenses issued in the last five years has risen to 460 from 210 in 2014, the year he first came to power.
India is building several defence equipments like artillery guns, aircraft carriers, submarines, light-combat aircraft, and combat helicopters, he said.
"Our mantra is Make in India, for India, for the world. In 2014 the export of defence equipment from India was about Rs 2,000 crore. In the last 2 years, it has gone up to Rs 17,000 crore.
In the next five years our target is export of USD 5 billion, which is about Rs 35,000 crore," the prime minister said.
India is not only a major market globally but a vast opportunity for the world as well, he said, asserting that Uttar Pradesh is going to be one of the biggest defence manufacturing hubs in India. Lack of proper policy initiative in last several decades made India the biggest importer of defence platforms, he added.
Modi cited misuse of technology, terrorism and cyber threat as challenges facing the world and said defence forces are eyeing new technology considering new threats.
India is not behind others, he added. He said a roadmap had been finalised to use application of artificial intelligence in defence sector.
The prime minister said the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff and the Department of Military Affairs will boost the overall defence production.
"We are going to enhance our presence in the outer space in coming years," he said, adding that the DRDO is putting up effective protection for India's assets in outer space created by ISRO.
"Our defence preparedness is not aimed at any country as India is a reliable contributor to world peace. It's our responsibility to ensure security of not only India but countries in the neighbourhood as well," he said.
He invited foreign defence manufacturers to "come and invest in India.
The 11th edition of DefExpo promises to bring new technologies and solutions on a single platform for defence manufacturing firms from India and abroad.
Delegates from 70 countries and 172 foreign military manufacturers attended the five-day mega exhibition. As many as 856 Indian defence firms also showcased their products.
Reflecting on the government's focus on 'Make in India', the DefExpo 2020 would offer an opportunity for the Indian defence industry to showcase its capabilities and promote its export potential.
It will be for the first time that the 19-seater aircraft will be used by a state government for civilian purposes.
Ministers from over 40 countries will take part in this edition of DefExpo, making it an important opportunity for countries to further strengthen defence ties with India, the defence minister said.
The fifth India-Russia Military Industry Conference will also be held on the sidelines of DefExpo with over 100 Russian and over 200 Indian industry leaders expected.
with PTI inputs