India avoids conflict between Russia and other western countries in defense event, DefExpo 2022
Indian companies saved the Indian government from the embarrassment of hosting Russian, American and French business representatives at the country’s 12th Defense Expo, which was opened by Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 19 . The exhibition was organized in Gandhinagar, the capital of his native province of Gujarat.
The defense exhibition was to be held from March 10 to 14 at the same location. However, the event was abruptly postponed at the last minute as attendees were experiencing logistical issues due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
But the main reason for the sudden postponement is that the government did not know how it would handle the heavy presence of Russian manufacturers at the site where defense companies from the west, mainly from the United States, the United Kingdom and France.
But the Indian government could handle the situation by cleverly using the routes adopted by Indian companies.
The Modi government has limited exposure to participation by Indian companies. But there was a difference that foreign entities, which include manufacturers or OEMs, could come differently.
They could participate in the events through their Indian subsidiaries or as partners in joint ventures with the Indian company.
The condition omitted Russia’s presence at the exhibition as the country has very few joint ventures and special purpose vehicles with Indian private sector companies.
The most important exception is Brahmos aerospace, which was established in 1988 as an SPV between the DRDO and the Russian joint-stock company previously known as the Federal State Unitary Enterprise – NPOM.
Also, some Russian exhibitors, including Rosoboronexport, sneaked in through Indo-Russian Riffles Private Ltd. The company came into existence in 2021 with Advanced Arms and Equipment India Limited and Munitions India Limited which is under the authority of the public defense sector. .
The company is believed to manufacture 6.1 lakh AK-203 assault rifles in Korwa, Amethi district, Uttar Pradesh.
The Russian presence at the meeting was seen as negligible compared to the strength of their delegations at previous DefExpos, where they outstripped other foreign OEMs.
In contrast, American, French and Israeli trade commissioners were more numerous at the conference. This is because the companies have strengthened their footprint in India, ensuring their dominance in the exhibition.
American companies including Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Honeywell aerospace are the reputable companies that have several joint ventures with India and other types of partnerships with Indian public and private sectors and Research Development Organization for the defense.
American companies have developed long-term joint ventures with Indian companies. This can be proven by: HTT-40 was launched by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and was launched by Prime Minister Modi at the event during the inaugural function of DefExpo 22 and the turboprop was provided by Honeywell for the native trainer aircraft.
The main objective of DefExpo-22 was mainly focused on encouraging the aerospace and defense manufacturing sector. On that note, Modi said space technology is an example of what security will mean for any strong nation in the future.
The three services identified and reviewed various challenges. And he further said that the world must work quickly to resolve them.
The mission defense space will not only encourage innovation and strength, but will provide new and innovative solutions.
Furthermore, he pointed out that the space industry is shaping new definitions of Indian space diplomacy, which will open up new possibilities for the country. This in turn will benefit many countries.
Africa currently benefits from space diplomacy.
He revealed that there are more than 60 developing countries with which India shares its space science. This can be quoted by taking the reference from the South Asian satellite. By next year, ten ASEAN countries will receive real-time access to satellite data from India. Moreover, developed countries like Europe and America are using the data.
Seventy-five countries are participating in the DefExpo event. Over 53 African countries were invited to the event and 44 to the IOR+ conclave.
The IADD conclave and IOR+ are the two critical events for DefExpo. Both events would aim to promote peace, security, prosperity and defense cooperation across the region. This, in turn, will enable the establishment of new defense and industrial partnerships.
India has mainly focused on Africa and the Indian Ocean region to export its arms products.
Modi wants India to become one of the key players in the main arms exporter. He added that the new India is evolving with the goals of innovation, intent and implementation in the defense sector. Eight years ago, India was known as the largest importer of defense equipment in the world.
However, Make In India has today become a solid success story in the defense sector. Defense exports have increased eightfold over the past five years.
India exports defense materials and types of equipment to more than 75 countries in the world.
Data shows that India’s defense exports crossed the $1.59 billion mark in 2021-22. And, the nation is aiming to hit the $5 billion goal.
What is the DefExpo event and why is it important for the defense industry in India?
DefExpo is a trade-driven initiative and the success of the event is measured in terms of the volume of business generated. The main objective of DefExpo is to showcase Indian products for export, but India ends up importing more foreign equipment due to its technological superiority.
India’s defense industrial policy is marked by three factors, namely India’s attempt to maximize its efforts in indigenous arms production.
Secondly, if the first characteristic is not feasible, India will go ahead with the production of licensed weapons, which could be obtained abroad.
The third criterion is that if the situation permits, the nation will go ahead with direct purchases.
One of the main shortcomings of the country’s defense sector is that it has not spent enough funds on research and development. Furthermore, there is a severe shortage of qualified scientists and engineers in the defense sector in India.
But a lot has been done by the Prime Minister to focus on the development of the defense sector. A special purpose vehicle has been created which will allow the private sector to play a partner role and not be limited to vendors or suppliers.
The actions may not lead to immediate results, but it gives hope that a path has been created that will provide many opportunities for Indians in the defense sector.