The Defence Minister AK Antony inaugurated the Def Expo India 2010, 6th International Land and Naval Defence Systems Exhibition, here today. Following is the text of the inaugural address delivered by Shri Antony on the occasion:-
I am delighted to be with you all. At the very outset, I take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to the delegates and participants from across the world. I am sure that your stay will be a pleasant one and the visit a successful one.
This year's edition of DefExpo is the sixth in series of India's Land and Naval Systems Exposition being organised biennially by Ministry of Defence since 1999. The event has grown from strength to strength. This year, the participation of companies has increased by around 40% compared to last year. It is heartening to note that 38 official delegations, including 14 ministerial delegations are attending DefExpo 2010.
The biggest challenge facing the world today is the security threats arising out of rapidly advancing technology. This has added a new dimension to the overall security environment. India has always been recognised as a mature, responsible power and a stabilising influence at a politico-security level. Though we are traditionally known to be a peace-loving nation, at the same time, we are ready to meet any challenge to our territorial integrity and sovereignty. Our Government is committed to the rapid modernisation of our Armed Forces, as we want our Forces to be equipped with state-of-the-art technology and equipment to help them defend our sovereignty.
India's defence expenditure is about 2.5 per cent of its GDP. The Indian economy expected to grow at 8-10% for the next two decades. Expenditure on defence in absolute terms is bound to increase in equal proportion. I am sure that this will present the defence industry new and challenging opportunities to make a more meaningful contribution to the defence sector.
India must achieve a high level of indigenisation in defence. Our quest for self-reliance in defence underlines the importance of private sector participation on the one hand and in revitalising the public sector, on the other. We want the public sector and the private sector to work in close cooperation, as friendly partners. Our defence industry is open up to 100 per cent for Indian private sector, while Foreign Direct Investment is allowed up to 26 per cent.
We have made our Defence Procurement Procedures transparent and to speed up the defence acquisition process. The recent introduction of "Buy & Make (Indian)" category in Defence Procurement Procedures aims at encouraging the Indian private industry to form Joint Ventures with any foreign manufacturer. We will soon publish the 'Technology Perspective and Capability Roadmap', covering a period of 15 years, to share the future needs of our Armed Forces.
Offset banking is now a part of our Defence Offset policy and the licensing conditions have also been rationalised. Necessary administrative structures have been put in place in the Ministry of Defence to facilitate offset banking.
The Indian defence industry has matured and evolved over the years. It has developed capabilities in land, naval and air systems. After the introduction of defence Offset Policy, India is gradually becoming a key outsourcing hub for the global defence industry. DefExpo India 2010 is an endeavour to showcase India's capabilities in land and naval systems, as well as its emergence as an attractive destination for investment in defence sector. This is a demonstration of our ability to design, develop and deliver a wide range of military and civil products and services to meet stringent specifications at competitive prices.
However, we can learn from each other and enter into mutually beneficial arrangements with friendly countries in the field of critical and futuristic defence technology. We welcome and invite support of the best in the world in our endeavour to modernise our Armed Forces. I am confident that DefExpo 2010 will provide ample opportunities to all the participants to display their latest technologies and products. It would help them tap the market and business potential for mutual benefit. I would like all our defence production outfits to learn from the experience of overseas collaborators and compete with the best international practices. I take this opportunity to urge all participants and officials of Ministry of Defence to participate in various Seminars on topical issues being organised during this Exhibition.I once again extend a warm welcome to all the participants, guests and exhibitors to this year's DefExpo. I am sure you will enjoy your stay in India. I am sure that it will be a grand success.With these words, I declare DefExpo 2010 open.
I also wish to announce that 7th DefExpo will be held from February 9 to February 12, 2012 at New Delhi.