Gandhinagar: Experts hailed the DefExpo 2022, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, for focusing on creating a self-reliant ecosystem in India.

Speaking to ANI, retired Colonel Raghunathan Nambiar said that DefExpo is indigenous and is on the theme of the Government of India's Aatmanirbhar Bharat motto.

"This is a great platform for the industry to showcase the products which have been made in India and most of the industries have been able to come up with the requirement of the government and have been able Indigenize various equipments which have been produced in the country now. As...aerospace, we are doing complete manufacturing in Bangalore. We have our indigenous product which we supply to defence forces, armed, paramilitary and police," said the retired Colonel.

He further said that this expo is one of the biggest platforms for the Indian private industry and also for the government to focus on products for the Indian defence forces.

Divya Gupta, a member of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) said that major superpowers of the world now recognise India as an entity.

"You have seen the tagline path to pride. We are very happy that India is going into self-reliance. A flagship that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has given to the nation which is "Prachand", a helicopter which was launched and handed over to the Air force. We are part of a legacy India was never before... Major superpowers of the world now recognise India as an entity," said Gupta.

Independent Director of HAL, Deepak Shinde said that it is extremely important to be self-reliant because in coming years India will not only make strategic defence equipments but also export them in an even bigger way.

"HAL is the leading aerospace organisation in the country. We have given to the country lots of aircraft, helicopters and even aerospace...whatever we see as a structure for the ISRO, the launching vehicles those also being manufactured by HAL. We are in the entire paradigm of aerospace and for this expo," he said.

He further said that it is extremely important for India to be self-reliant because depending on other countries for our defence needs is dangerous.

"I feel that this is extremely important to our juncture whereby we are finding that just depending on different countries for our defence needs is very dangerous for things because due to the Ukraine war our dependency on Russia did create problems for us from the strategic point of view," said Shinde.

He also said that the expo will give a lot of exposure to the small industries of the country.

"Now, we realized that we have to be self-reliant in the things that we manufacture and for a defence need we just cannot rely on others. So in this expo, there is a lot of stress being laid on this Aatmanirbhar Bharat and there is a whole ecosystem has been created whereby manufacturing of parts of different defence-related strategic items is done in the country itself. So I feel that this expo will give a lot of exposure to all the small industries because if you find that the big industries are involved in it but the MSMEs are also involved. The expo will give them a good idea of what exactly needs to be done and what can be done," he said.

Shinde said that India is a very big consumer of defence items because of its strategic location and in the coming years, India not only will create strategic defence equipment that is necessary for the country but with this capability, it will export them in a bigger way.

"It is extremely important for us to be self-reliant. In the coming years, India will not only create strategic defence equipments but export in an even bigger way and will be one of the bigger leagues in the next couple of years. The expo also focuses on African and middle eastern countries. These areas have been underexposed. But now they are one of the marketplaces that can be thought about," he added.

With an aim to give impetus to the defence sector, India's "biggest ever" defence exhibition - DefExpo 2022 begin in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on October 18.

This is the 12th edition of the event that has been organised on the theme 'Path to Pride'.

Addressing the curtain raiser press conference in Gandhinagar on Monday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, that the DefExpo 2022 will showcase the growing prowess of the domestic defence industry, calling it one of the major drivers of the nation's resolve to achieve 'Make in India, Make for the World'.

The Defence Minister termed DefExpo 2022, exclusively for Indian companies, as a humble tribute of an 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' to Mahatma Gandhi who he called the "pillar of the Swadeshi movement".