During the inaugural ceremony, Prime Minister Modi launched Mission DefSpace, laid foundation stone for Deesa Airfield & released the 4th Positive Indigenisation List
In the defence sector, new India is moving ahead with the mantra of Intent, Innovation and Implementation, stated Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the inauguration of the Defence Expo 2022 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on Wednesday. The Prime Minister underlined that DefExpo 2022 is painting a picture of New India and its capabilities; being an amalgamation of the country’s development and states’ cooperation. “It has the power and dreams of the youth, the resolve and capabilities of the youth; hopes for the world and opportunities for friendly nations. It provides a glimpse of the capability and possibility of India in one single frame.” He stressed on the uniqueness of this edition being the first defence expo where only Indian companies are participating, featuring only Made in India equipment. Over 400 MoUs are expected to be signed. Encouraging the startups further, he mentioned that reliable options are now mushrooming to replace the monopoly that few companies have created in the field of defence supply.
Till eight years ago, India was recognised as the world’s largest defence importer but ‘Make in India’ is becoming a success story now with the defence exports having grown eight times in the last five years, added the Prime Minister. “We are exporting defence materials and equipment to more than 75 countries of the world. In 2021-22 Defence exports from India reached $1.59 billion i.e. about 13 thousand crore rupees. And in the coming time, we have set a target to reach five billion dollars i.e. 40 thousand crore rupees.”
The world is relying on India’s technology today because India’s armies have proved their capabilities, he said, appreciating the Indian Armed Forces. Additionally, the forces are pushing Atmanirbharta too. The Indian Navy has inducted state-ofthe- art aircraft carriers like the INS Vikrant into its fleet. The induction of the ‘Prachanda’ Light Combat Helicopters developed under the ‘Make in India’ initiative by Indian Air Force is another clear example of India’s defence capability.
During the programme, Prime Minister also launched Mission DefSpace. Space is being looked at as the next frontier for security. “Space technology is an example of what security will mean for any strong nation in the future. Various challenges in this area have been reviewed and identified by the three services. We have to work fast to solve them,” Modi said.
Mission Defence Space aims to encourage innovation, strengthen the forces and provide new and innovative solutions. The Mission will come up with various challenges and initiatives through this Mission to advance the aerospace sector.
“Space technology is shaping new definitions of India’s generous space diplomacy, giving rise to new possibilities. There are more than sixty developing countries with whom India is sharing its space science. The South Asia satellite is an effective example of this. By next year, ten ASEAN countries will also get real-time access to India’s satellite data. Even developed countries like Europe and America are using our satellite data”, he added.
As part of DefExpo’s inauguration, Prime Minister virtually laid the foundation stone of Deesa airfield in Gujarat. Noting Deesa’s proximity with the border, the Prime Minister said that now India is better prepared to respond to any misadventure on the western borders. “The forward airforce base will add to the security architecture of the country. This region will now become an effective centre of security,” he added.
Noting the positive response from various countries, the Prime Minister expressed, “When India is giving shape to its dreams, 53 friendly countries from Africa are walking with us. The second India-Africa Defence Dialogue is also taking place during the Expo. “The first railway lines in Africa had the participation of people from Kutch. Many words used in daily life in Africa have their origin in the Gujarati community in Africa. Even for a global leader like Mahatma Gandhi, if Gujarat was his birthplace, then Africa was his first ‘Karmbhoomi’. This affinity for Africa is still central to India’s foreign policy. This relationship between India and Africa is based on time-tested trust that is further deepening and touching new dimensions with the passing of time.”
The second Indian Ocean Region+ (IOR+) Conclave is also being held during the Expo. In line with the Prime Minister’s vision for Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR), the conclave will provide a stage for a comprehensive dialogue to promote defence cooperation amongst IOR+ nations to foster peace, growth, stability and prosperity. Drawing attention to the rising maritime security’s importance, the Prime Minister stated, “Today, from international security to global trade, maritime security has emerged as a global priority. The role of the merchant navy has also expanded in the era of globalisation. The world’s expectations from India have increased, and I assure the world community that India will fulfill them. Therefore, this Defence Expo is also a symbol of global trust towards India.”
As a further boost to Atmanirbharta in Defence, the Prime Minister also released the fourth positive indigenisation list featuring 101 items. Throwing light on making India’s defence sector self-reliant, Prime Minister highlighted that these decisions also show the potential of a self-reliant India. “After the list, there will be 411 such equipment of the defence sector, which will only be bought under the “‘Make in India’. Such a huge budget will strengthen the foundation of Indian companies and take them to new heights.” All the items included in the lists will be procured from indigenous sources as per provisions given in Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020. This list provides continuous impetus towards selfreliance in defence.
The MoD had earlier promulgated ‘First, Second and Third Positive Indigenisation Lists’, comprising 310 items on August 21, 2020, May 31, 2021 and April 7, 2022 respectively.
“The fourth list has been prepared by MoD after several rounds of consultations with all stakeholders, including the industry. It lays special focus on equipment/systems, which are being developed and likely to translate into firm orders in the next five to ten years. Like the first three lists, import substitution of ammunition which is a recurring requirement has been given special focus,” he added.
This fourth list recognises the growing capacity and capabilities of the Indian defence industry and is likely to stimulate the potential of domestic research & development by attracting fresh investment into technology and manufacturing capabilities. The list has been hosted on the MoD website (www.mod.gov.in) for information of all stakeholders.
Following the inaugural address, Prime Minister Modi proceeded to the exhibition centre and inaugurated the India Pavilion. At the India Pavilion, he also unveiled HTT-40 - the indigenous trainer aircraft designed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The India Pavillion features various companies and products under different zones. These include the Missile Zone termed as “Far and Beyond”, the Naval Zone termed “Wave Riders”, the Aero Zone termed “Above Horizon”, the Land Zone termed “Terra Firma”, the Electronic Zone termed “Digital Frontier” and a 5G section.
Speaking on investment opportunities in the defence sector, the Prime Minister spoke about the two defence corridors in UP and Tamil Nadu where big global companies are expected to invest. He also highlighted the might of the MSMEs in the sector and informed that these big companies will be supported by the MSMEs while creating a large network of supply chains behind this investment. “Investments of such scale in this sector will generate huge employment opportunities for the youth in those areas which were not even thought of earlier.” He called upon all the companies present at the Defence Expo and urged them to give shape to these opportunities keeping the India of the future at the centre. “You innovate, take a pledge to be the best in the world, and give shape to the dream of a strong developed India. You will always find me there supporting you”, he concluded.