Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh reviewed, in New Delhi on February 18, 2022, the preparations for DefExpo-2022, Asia’s largest land, naval and homeland security systems exhibition, to be held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat in March. The event is organized as one of the largest international defense exhibitions in the world.
There has been greater national and international interest in this 12th edition of DefExpo, since India relaxed its health protocols due to reduced COVID-19 cases. So far, 930 exhibitors have registered for the mega event and the number is expected to exceed 1,000 in the coming days. Confirmations from Foreign Ministers of Defense are also being received and are comparable to the previous edition of the event which was held in February 2020 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh in pre-COVID times.
Noting that the relaxation of COVID protocols has sparked greater interest in DefExpo-2022, Shri Rajnath Singh extended the event by one day. The Expo will now be held from March 10 to 14, 2022. It will facilitate defense business for three working days and make it inclusive for young entrepreneurs and millennials from colleges/schools in Gujarat for two public days.
DefExpo-2022 will be held as a hybrid exhibition, with booths in both physical and virtual realms. This will ensure greater engagement as exhibitors can cater to the needs of both physical and virtual attendees. The Raksha Mantri was informed that virtual participants could participate in seminars, interact with exhibitors and representatives; hold business-to-business (B2B) meetings and view product details and support videos.
The mega exhibition is planned in a three-site format – exhibition at the Helipad Exhibition Center (HEC); Events and seminars at Mahatma Mandir Convention and Exhibition Center (MCEC) and live demonstration for the public at Sabarmati Riverfront. Safety protocols such as mandatory face mask wearing, contactless interactions, respiratory hygiene, etc. will be implemented at all sites in accordance with current health protocols.
To instill a sense of pride, the theme for the event was christened “Path to Pride”. In a one-of-a-kind initiative, the event will show India’s determination to be first among the first. With indigenous technological and logistical prowess at the forefront, the event will invigorate the defense industry, start-ups and MSMEs to cement strong partnerships with foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) present. DefExpo-2022 is symbolic of India’s determination to advance its business interests and take global initiatives for peace and security in the region. Shri Rajnath Singh appreciated the arrangements made by the Ministry of Defense in collaboration with the Government of Gujarat and expressed his confidence in a safe and successful DefExpo-2022.
A DefExpo-2022 mobile app was also launched by the Raksha Mantri during the review. It is an interactive and user-friendly interface for all questions related to the event. The app, available on Android/iOS platforms, contains features to support exhibitors, attendees and the media. It provides exhibitor information, schedule, speakers, venue maps, directions, publications, and visitor and exhibitor notifications. New features, such as managing delegate hospitality and structured feedback, including cleanliness issues, have been added to the app.
Raksha Rajya Mantri Shri Ajay Bhatt, Secretary of Defense Dr Ajay Kumar, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar, Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Manoj Pande, Financial Adviser (Defence Services) Shri Sanjiv Mittal and other senior MoD civilian and military officials were present on the occasion.
It may be recalled that on September 02, 2021, a Memorandum of Understanding, defining roles and responsibilities, was signed between the Government of India and the Government of Gujarat, on the sidelines of Raksha Mantri’s review of DefExpo 2022 at Ekta Nagar. The Raksha Mantri had then emphasized that there would be wider participation in line with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and government policies to promote the growth of the indigenous defense manufacturing sector.
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