DefExpo 2018
While the expo kicked off on Wednesday, it was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.

DefExpo 2018 kicked off in Thiruvidanthai, Chennai on Wednesday with much fanfare, as it a platform for India to showcase its defence prowess. The expo has seen the participation of many global and domestic firms who hope to secure contracts. While the expo kicked off on Wednesday, it was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.

The 10th edition of the event, this is the first time that the event is being held in Chennai. The government, with this edition, wishes to position itself as a military manufacturer rather than just as an importer.

Here are five things you need to know:

  1. The expo will see the participation of over 500 Indian companies and over 150 foreign companies. Dozens of foreign and local companies and defence public sector undertakings are hard selling their products to the Indian armed forces and foreigners, including defence attaches.
  2. The four-day DefExpo India, whose theme is "Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub” is a biennial exercise aimed at establishing Brand India and highlighting the manufacturing capabilities of the country's public and private sectors. “While showcasing the strengths of India’s public sector, it will also uncover India’s growing private industry and spreading MSME base for components and sub-systems,” the Ministry had said.
  3. Indian manufacturers participating in the expo include Tata, Mahindra, DRDO and Bharat Forge. International manufacturers attending the expo include Boeing, Cyient, Saab, Elbit in collaboration with Adani, Airbus, Rafael, United Shipbuilding etc.The response from foreign companies this time, as compared to the previous DefExpo held in Goa in 2016, has not been that good. A total of 232 foreign companies had participated in Goa, while it is 154 this time.
  4. The expo’s display included indigenously developed land, air and naval systems. These include Tejas fighter jets, advanced towed artillery gun systems designed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, Arjun Mark 2 tank and Dhanush artillery guns. The DRDO is showcasing the Nirbhay missile system with its launcher, MBT Arjun Mk-I tank, Astra missile, low-level transportable radar system, medium power radar system and Varunastra -- heavyweight anti submarine electric torpedo.
  5. The expo held in Tamil Nadu comes at a time when the Tamil Nadu Defence Corridor is being established. The corridor will extend from Chennai to Hosur via Coimbatore, Salem and Tiruchirappalli.

The DefExpo comes amid heightened protests across the southern state demanding setting up of the Cauvery Management Board. There is widespread anger over the central government dragging its feet in implementing the Supreme Court guidelines.

Read: Protests across Chennai as PM visits, GoBackModi trends on Twitter worldwide

With IANS inputs