Rafale, US tank feature in India's defence manufacturing capabilities

by Pradip R. Sagar

The Defence ministry has found itself in an embarrassing position over a series of goof-ups by its team handling promotion for the upcoming DefExpo - 2018. 

The Defexpo—an international land, naval and internal homeland security systems exhibition—will be held for the first time in Chennai from April 11-14. Over 80 companies are expected to showcase their products in the event, considered to be the biggest in Asia. Nearly 50 countries have already confirmed their participation.

However, the team handling the official page created on social media platforms for the promotion of the event has left the ministry red faced with wrong selection of pictures for promos.

In one promotion, a picture of Rafale fighter jet was shown in the category of Make In India showing India's defence manufacturing capabilities. In another twitter post, while representing "India proposes to showcase its tank making capabilities", a US tank was shown in the picture instead of an indigenous one. In another promotion, an image was lifted from a 2001 American war drama Band of Brothers.

Embarrassed on social media, the ministry has now taken note of it.

Defexpo is a biennial event used to happen in the national capital. However, former defence minister Manohar Parrikar first took it to his home state Goa in 2016 and now current defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman moved it to Chennai. In fact, uncertainty over its venue delayed the event, which normally takes place in February and March.

Claiming it to be one of the biggest events in the last ten years, the ministry said that Def Expo 2018 will, for the first time, project India's defence manufacturing capabilities to the world. It will brand India as an exporter of several defence systems and components for all three services—Army, Navy and Air Force, according to the statement issued by the ministry.

It said showcasing the potential of India's public sector as well as private industries to manufacture components and sub-systems of major platforms will also be a focus area.