Defence Minister Shri AK Antony declared open the Defexpo India-2012, the 7th Land, Naval and Internal Security Systems Exhibition, here this morning. Following is the full text of his Inaugural Address on the occasion:
“Distinguished participants, guests and friends,
On behalf of the Ministry of Defence, Government of India, I take this opportunity to extend a very warm welcome to all our distinguished delegates and participants from across the world to DEFEXPO INDIA 2012. I wish you all a very pleasant and a successful visit.
DEFEXPO INDIA 2012 is the seventh of the series of India’s Land and Naval Systems Exposition, being biennially organised by the Ministry of Defence since 1999. This year the event has been organised in association with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, an example of public-private partnership.
Over the years, with your active participation, DEFEXPO has witnessed rapid growth, from its modest beginnings in 1999. This year it has recorded unprecedented growth, both in terms of company participation and official delegations. This year, 58 official delegations including 18 ministerial delegations are attending DEFEXPO 2012.
At the politico-security level, India has always been recognised as a responsible power and a stabilising factor in this region, in the face of various security challenges originating from different sources around us. India has traditionally been a peace-loving nation. However, we have to be ready to meet any challenge to our territorial integrity and sovereignty. Our Armed Forces need to have access to the latest defence technologies, equipped with the state-of-the-art platforms, equipment and systems to meet any threat. Our Government’s efforts are directed towards modernisation our Armed Forces.
India’s defence expenditure in the recent past has been around 2% of the GDP, which is consistent with our security needs, as well as our requirements in the area. With the projected growth of the Indian economy expected at a trajectory of 8-10% for the next two decades, expenditure on defence in absolute terms is bound to increase.
It need not be over-emphasised that we have to achieve a high level of indigenisation in defence and this is our thrust area. Our quest for self-reliance in defence underlines the growing importance of private sector participation on the one hand, and revitalising the public sector on the other. Our emphasis is on public-private sector partnership in the defence industry. Enabling Policy framework has been put in place to develop indigenous capabilities through harnessing the potential and utilising resources available, both in the public and the private sector. Our defence industry is now open up to 100 per cent for Indian private sector participation, while Foreign Direct Investment is permissible up to 26 per cent.
We have been periodically reviewing the Defence Procurement Procedures to usher in greater transparency and speed in the defence acquisition process. The introduction of “Buy & Make (Indian)” category in Defence Procurement Procedures is aimed at encouraging proactive participation of the Indian industry by way of forming joint ventures with any foreign manufacturer.
Offset banking is permissible in our Defence Offset policy, the scope of which has now been expanded to include civil aerospace, internal security and training within the ambit of eligible products and services for discharge of offset obligations. The licensing condition has already been rationalised. As part of the continuous process of periodic review of our Defence Procurement Procedure, review of the Defence Offset Policy is also being undertaken and further changes are expected in due course.
The Indian defence industry has gradually matured over the years and substantial capabilities have been developed in land, naval and air systems. As a result of the introduction of Defence Offset Policy, India is gradually becoming a key outsourcing hub for the global defence industry.
DEFEXPO INDIA 2012 is our endeavour to showcase India’s capabilities in land, naval and security systems, as well as its emergence as an attractive destination for investment in defence sector. The event will also demonstrate our capability to design, develop and deliver a wide range of military and civil products and services to meet the stringent specifications and, that too, at most competitive prices. We are open to enter into mutually beneficial agreements with friendly countries in the field of critical and state-of-the-art futuristic defence technologies. We would welcome all such proposals in our endeavour to modernise our Armed Forces.
I am confident that DEFEXPO 2012 would provide ample opportunities to all the exhibitors to display their latest technologies and products. This platform would also enable them to tap the market and business potential for mutual benefit. I would also like all our defence production units to learn from the experience of their overseas collaborators participating in DEFEXPO INDIA 2012.
I would also like to request the participants and officials of Ministry of Defence to actively participate in the Seminar on the topical subject being organised by FICCI during the exhibition. I would also like to recommend FICCI, our event manager and the team of Ministry officers working closely together for making excellent arrangements for conducting DEFEXPO 2012.
I once again extend a warm welcome to all the participants, guests, exhibitors present at DEFEXPO 2012. I hope that your stay will be a fruitful and an enjoyable one. I am sure it will be a grand success. May I also take this opportunity to announce that 8th DEFEXPO INDIA will be held from February 6-9, 2014 at New Delhi.