Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Defexpo 2022: What To Expect & Why It Is Important

Girish Linganna

The flagship Defexpo 2022 is now in its 12th year after being abruptly canceled in March 2022, much to the annoyance of the Indian Defense Industry and foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). The expo is the top defense industry trade show in India and features cutting-edge land, naval, and home security systems and weapon platforms. The equipment and technological innovations used in this installment of the mega-event, which will take place between 18 October and 22 October, will be largely domestically designed and developed.

Defexpo 2022 will be a five-day affair split between three business days and two days open for the general public. The Indian Defense Industry, including Defense Public Sector  Undertakings (DPSU), and the Indian Armed Forces will showcase live demonstrations and equipment over the course of the five days. These events, which will be held at the Sabarmati River Front, will showcase collaboration, coordination, and synchronized efforts among stakeholders.

The 12th edition of Defexpo will take place across a venue spanning over one lakh square metres and will be held in a three-venue format at the Helipad Exhibition Centre; the inaugural event and seminars are scheduled to be held at the Mahatma Mandir Convention and Exhibition Centre while the live demonstrations will be conducted at the Sabarmati River Front. 

Following significant industry backlash and resentment over the abrupt cancellation, the Government of India has been seen as making an effort to make up for the inconveniences caused by the planning of novel events like ‘Bandhan’, an initiative aimed at fostering ties between various companies. The trade show will witness a blend of seminars and webinars, allowing all key stakeholders to see defence and aerospace sector innovations by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and promising defence start-ups. 

In line with the government’s efforts to foster a vibrant defense and aerospace industry ecosystem across various parts of the country through industrial corridors in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu to name a few, these ultra-sophisticated innovations would modernise battlefield solutions and artificial intelligence (AI) for military applications, highlighting the state of Gujarat as an attractive defense and aerospace industry hub to potential inventors among other key stakeholders.

Another poignant aspect worth noting would be the student visits aimed at piquing curiosity among young minds and hopefully sparking an interest in nurturing the next generation of armed forces personnel, defence and aerospace industry innovators, entrepreneurs and other industry professionals. Every aspect of Defexpo 2022 aligns with the national vision of self-reliance in defence and aims to reach the $5 Billion export target by 2025. Headway has been made with significant export orders from Indian defence companies underway. 

The timing of the biennial event coincides with Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, signifying 75 years of India as an independent nation. This is further reinforced with the events theme, Path to Pride which intends to showcase how the indigenous defence and aerospace industry are major enablers to India’s growth story. 

PM Narendra Modi innaugrating DefExpo 2020; File Photo

Defexpo 2022: Policy Initiatives Likely To Bear Fruit?

A number of policy decisions and frameworks have been established in recent years to support the expansion of the domestic defense sector. These actions can take a variety of shapes, such as the simplicity of industrial licensing, which supports 74% of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) via an automated route. Analysts have called the publication of Positive Indigenisation Lists (PIL) a game-changer for the Make-in-India defense initiative because it permits the purchase of essential systems and platforms only from domestic producers.

Through a number of initiatives, efforts have been made to strengthen research and development. Seven brand-new defense firms are also thought of as the cherry on top. Artificial intelligence in defense (AiDef), Defconnect, and Innovation for Defence Excellence (iDEX) are some of the mechanisms that are force multipliers for the industry.

Domestic manufacturers have already expressed a great deal of interest in the defense ministry’s reforms in the specialized field of defense and aerospace manufacturing. The Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) has made efforts to streamline this procedure and remove any potential administrative bottlenecks. All of this is expected to yield unprecedented results at this year’s Defexpo!

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