India buys bulk of its weapons for the armed forces from foreign sources

Lucknow: India's biennial DefExpo will kick start in Lucknow on Wednesday with the aim to showcase the potential of the country to become a global defence manufacturing hub.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said delegates from 70 countries and 172 foreign military manufacturers will attend the five-day mega exhibition. As many as 856 Indian defence firms will also showcase their products at the event.

"We want to make India a hub of defence manufacturing. The DefExpo is a step in this direction," Singh said.

"The participation of a large number of foreign firms in the DefExpo reflects India's growing stature," he said.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said his government has been encouraging defence manufacturing in the state. He said two Dornier aircraft of aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will be used by the state government for civil purposes on two routes.

It will be for the first time that the 19-seater aircraft will be used by a state government for civilian purposes.

Singh said India cannot continue to rely on imports for defence platforms and the country has to create its defence manufacturing space.

"By end of this decade, I am confident that India will be among the top three economies in the world. The indigenous defence production will contribute significantly in taking India's economy forward," Singh said.

The 11th edition of DefExpo promises to bring new technologies and technological solutions, and a single platform for Defence manufacturing companies from India and abroad to showcase their products and services in the defence sector.

The main theme of the DefExpo India -- 2020 is 'India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub' and the focus will be on 'Digital Transformation of Defence', a release said.

Reflecting the government's focus on 'Make in India', DefExpo 2020 would offer an excellent opportunity for the Indian defence industry to showcase its capabilities and promote its export potential.

The formal inauguration of the event by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be held on Wednesday followed by a live demonstration of naval systems, Aero systems and land systems.

Live demonstration will be done for systems which are designed or built in India.

Three parallel business seminars, organised by industry associations and business chambers, will also be held on the opening day. The themes of the seminars will be 'Skill Development in Aviation & Defence', 'India–France Defence Industry Seminar' and 'Indo- Israel -- Opportunities in Defence Cooperation- Future Vectors of the Digital Battlefield'.

The fifth India Russia Military Industry Conference will also be held on the sidelines of DefExpo with over 100 Russian and over 200 Indian industry leaders expected to participate.

Singh will preside over African Defence Ministers' Conclave and host a dinner in the honour of African Defence Ministers.

There will be live demonstration of large platforms and also flying display at the Gomti riverfront and the DefExpo venue.