Defence Expo 2014, the eighth bi-annual exhibition showcasing land, naval and homeland security systems began in Pragati Maidan on Thursday, 6 January 2014. The manufacturers, not only from India, but also foreign countries are showcasing their best product in the expo.
The expo focuses on indigenous capabilities and the new government procurement rules that favour homegrown weapons. The expo will host 624 companies as exhibitors, out of which 368 are foreign companies and 256 are domestic companies. Amongst the domestic companies, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is the largest exhibitor followed by private sector Tata group of companies. Russia is the largest exhibitor followed by France and Israel amongst the foreign participants.
Almost 15 companies were not allowed to participate in the exhibition, few of them being Finmeccanica and its group of companies, including Agusta Westland, the company having allegations of corruption from a helicopter deal.
Gokul Chandra Pati, Indian defense production secretary said, “The focus of Defexpo 2014 is displaying defense manufacturing capabilities.” He also added, India imports 70 per cent of the defense needs and buys spares of almost $2 billion every year, and is facing problems with Russia in getting spares at reasonable prices. In this financial year, defense orders worth $6.6 billion have been awarded to public sector defense companies and state-owned Ordnance Factories Board.
This time the Defense expo started against the backdrop of a falling Indian rupee against the US dollar, which has eroded the purchase capacity of India by more than $3 billion. The defense sector was opened to investments by the private sector, including foreign direct investments with a limit of 26 per cent. However, no major original equipment manufacturers has tied up with domestic private sector companies to produce high tech weaponry, as reported by DefenseNews.