New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) India will host from Thursday Asia's biggest defence exposition, showcasing the country's military prowess and the nation's emergence as an attractive destination for investment in the sector.
Some 567 global defence firms from 32 countries will display weapon systems for the army, navy and also for internal security, an official said Monday.
The four-day event to be held at Delhi's Pragati Maidan, a known expo venue in the capital, will be inaugurated by Defence Minister A.K. Antony.
"The largest ever defence exposition in Asia will showcase India's emergence as an attractive destination for investment in the defence sector and provide a platform for alliances and joint ventures in the defence industry," Shekhar Agarwal, secretary, defence procurement, told reporters.
The Department of Defence Production in the defence ministry is organising the expo while the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) is the manager.
Suppliers, manufacturers, technology and services providers will get an opportunity to promote and showcase their products and services to the international defence industry.
"The exhibition generates attention globally and has carved a niche amongst major defence exhibitions around the world," Agarwal said.
The firms participating in the event include those from the US, Russia, France, Germany, Israel and others.
The event is expected to be attended by official delegations from 60 countries.
Chinese companies have not been invited for the biennial exhibition but there will be an official delegation from Beijing for the event to be led by an officer of a major general level, Agarwal said.
The Def Expo was conceptualised in 1998 with an objective to promote defence exports from India and exhibit the capabilities of Indian defence research and development and production.
The first exhibition was held in 1999 and subsequently in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010.
While a modest 197 exhibitors participated in the first Def Expo, the event features 567 exhibitors in its seventh edition this year.
Israel is the biggest participating country in terms of indoor space occupied (1,293 sq mt) while Russia is represented with the maximum number of 37 companies.
In the year 2010, there were 412 exhibitors from 35 countries. The exhibition area has increased from 27,309 sq mt in 2010 to 30,760 sq mt this year.
More than 60 official delegations including 14 headed by defence ministers are expected to attend.
Many new products will be launched by Indian and foreign companies.
Several business-to-business meetings are planned to be held on the sidelines.
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