Addressing a curtain raiser event of DefExpo 2022 in Gandhinagar on Monday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “India, which used to be considered the biggest importer, is today in queue among the top 25 countries exporting defence products.” He said that for the world to gain trust, “we will have to first trust our products”.
“Path to Pride” is the theme of DefExpo 2022, taking place from October 18 to 22 in Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad and Porbandar. “Path to Pride is not just a theme, but a vision of New India,” Singh said while talking about the focus of the expo that will exhibit products of 1,340 companies having operations in India. It will also feature defence ministers from 33 countries.
During the expo, 451 MoUs worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore will be signed, of which 33 MoUs worth Rs 5,500 crore are for projects in Gujarat.
Talking about the defence exports from India, Singh said, “Before 2014, defence exports worth approximately Rs 900-1,300 crore used to happen. Now we are exporting more than Rs 13,000 crore and in the first six months of the current financial year, we have exported products worth Rs 8,000 crore. By 2024-’25, our target is Rs 35,000 crore.”
Singh held bilateral meetings with defence ministers of six African countries. He will also chair the “2nd India-Africa defence dialogue” on October 18 and “IOR+ Defence Ministers Conclave” on October 19. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will formally inaugurate the event on October 19.
Defence secretary, Ajay Kumar said, “We are helping the countries in Africa through our defence industries, we are building their capacities and in partnership with them we are tackling drug trafficking, piracy and hurdles on coastal areas.”
At the “Invest for Defence” event scheduled on October 20, PM Modi is expected to virtually lay the foundation stone for a new Indian Air Force base at Deesa in North Gujarat. The expo will also see indigenously developed trainer aircraft, HTT40 being displayed by HAL.
Earlier in the day, Rajnath Singh released the Gujarati edition of the book “Modi@20:Dreams Meet Delivery” at Gandhinagar. The function was attended by chief minister Bhupendra Patel and Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairy, Dr L Murugan.