The next edition of India's mega defence exhibition -- the DefExpo -- will be held in Lucknow from February 5-8 next year with the participation of major global and domestic military firms, the Defence Ministry announced on Sunday. It will be the first time that Lucknow will host the exhibition in which delegates of a number of leading countries will participate. The theme of the DefExpo will be "India: the emerging defence manufacturing hub" and it will be focussed on "digital transformation of defence", the ministry said.
Officials said major global and domestic military firms will showcase their latest weaponry and platforms at the exhibition, eyeing a slice of the lucrative military market in the country which is the world's biggest arms importer. "The 11th biennial edition of DefExpo India- 2020 is scheduled to be held for the first time in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow. It offers an excellent opportunity for the Indian defence industry to showcase its capabilities and promote its export potential," the ministry said.
The previous edition of DefExpo took place in Thiruvidanthai, near Chennai, in April 2018. The government tried to project the 10th edition of the biennial event as the first serious attempt to transform India into a hub of military manufacturing and pursue its goal of achieving a turnover of Rs 1,70,000 crore in military goods and services by 2025 by promoting the domestic defence industry.
"The exhibition will also highlight emergence of Uttar Pradesh 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 ministry said. The northern state has a strong defence industrial infrastructure. It has four units of the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd at Lucknow, Kanpur, Korwa and Naini (Prayagraj), nine ordnance factory units and one production facility of defence public sector undertaking Bharat Electronics Limited at Ghaziabad.
One of the two Defence Industrial Corridors (DICs) of India is also planned in Uttar Pradesh. The other DIC is proposed in Tamil Nadu. Last year, Lucknow had sent a proposal to the defence ministry to host the Aero India -- considered Asia's largest aerospace exhibition. However, the government decided not to shift it from its traditional venue of Bengaluru. Aero India took place in Bengaluru in February.
The ministry said the DefExpo will provide an opportunity to the major foreign manufacturers to collaborate with the Indian defence industry and help promote the "Make in India" initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "Ministerial level delegations from 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," the ministry said.