Antony inaugurates DefExpo 2014

New Delhi, Feb.6: Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Thursday said efforts are being made to accelerate the pace of indigenization in defence sector.

Addressing the 8th Land, Naval and Internal, Homeland Security Systems Exhibition here today, he said, the government is encouraging joint public-private participation in defence sector, while thrust is also being given to the private sector to make a far more meaningful and substantive contribution.

Stating that the geo-political realities around India pose various kinds of security challenges, he said, India has always desired peace with all its neighbours. However, he added that such peace cannot come at the cost of our security concerns.

“It is for this reason, we must ever prepared to meet any challenge posed to our territorial integrity and sovereignty,” he said.

The government is taking necessary steps to modernize the armed forces so that they are well-equipped with the best equipment, weapon systems and technology, Antony added.

He said regular reviews of the Defence Procurement Procedures (DPP) are being carried out with certain objectives in mind, among which balancing the competing requirements of expediting procurement, developing a robust base for indigenous defence sector and to adhere to the highest standards of transparency, probity and public accountability are some of them.

In the latest Defence Procurement Procedures approved in 2013, he said emphasis have been laid upon to provide a boost to the Indian defence industry, both in the public and private sector by according preference to the ‘Buy’ (Indian), Buy and Make (Indian) categories of acquisitions.

Antony said that at the same time the industry should also come forward to create the necessary capability to take advantage of the provisions of DPP 2013.

He said the latest Defence Offset Guidelines articulates the key objectives of the policy document, besides adding some new features and modifying some of the earlier provisions.

Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh said that with the recent changes in DPP, a huge opportunity has been thrown open before the Indian private sector to take initiatives and compete.

He said that a close interaction between the production agencies, research and development agencies and the users, the armed forces, is also an important aspect.

The four-day DefExpo showcases India’s emergence as an attractive destination for investment in the defence sector and provides a platform for alliances and joint ventures in the defence industry.

A total of 624 companies from 30 countries are displaying weapon systems for the Army, Navy and Internal Security during the DefExpo, billed as the largest ever defence exposition in Asia.

Major participants are from Russia, France and Israel besides Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine, UK and USA.

Organised by the Department of Defence Production, the exhibition is dedicated to global land, naval and internal security systems business activity – from suppliers to manufacturers and technology providers to services.

The DefExpo offers an opportunity to the international defence industry to promote and showcase their products and services. The exhibition generates attention globally and has carved a niche amongst major defence exhibitions around the world.

The DefExpo was conceptualised in 1998 with an objective to promote defence exports from India and exhibit the capabilities of Indian Defence R and D and production.

The first exhibition was held in 1999 and subsequently in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012. While a modest 197 exhibitors participated in the first DefExpo, the biennial event features 624 exhibitors in its 8th edition this year.

Russia is the biggest participating country in terms of indoor and outdoor space occupied. Russia is also represented with the maximum number of 37 companies.

There are 12 country pavilions from France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Norway, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, UK and USA.

Many products are expected to be launched by Indian and Foreign Companies during the exhibition. Several business-to-business meetings are planned to be held on the sidelines. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) is the event manager of the DefExpo 2014.

Defence Secretary R.K. Mathur, Secretary (Defence Production) G.C. Pati, President, FICCI, Sidarth Birla, the three-service chiefs and senior officials from the services and the Ministry of Defence were present at the inaugural function. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)