Yogi govt to woo top defence manufacturers with UP Expo after Diwali

Topics Yogi Adityanath

To raise the pitch for proposed Uttar Pradesh Defence Corridor, the Yogi Adityanath government will host top defence production companies, both public and private sector, apart from representatives of foreign countries having close defence ties with India after Diwali.

The state in consort with the defence ministry, domestic defence manufacturers and defence research agencies is hosting a mega 'UP Defence Expo 2018' in Kanpur on November 14-16.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is likely to inaugurate the event, while UP chief minister Adityanath will preside over the closing ceremony, sources told Business Standard.

Top union defence ministry and public sector defence manufacturing officials will participate in the 3-day event, which is touted as among the largest Defence Production Expo being organised outside the national capital

Invites are being sent to all the embassies, especially the countries with which India enjoys close defence cooperation, such as USA, Russia, Israel, France, Italy etc. Besides, all the top domestic defence manufacturers, including the Tata Group, L&T, Mahindra etc have been invited to participate in the Expo, which would showcase UP as a preferred defence manufacturing destination in India.

In all, there are about 250 big and medium defence manufacturing firms in India, apart from almost 4,000 small units operating in the sector.

Similar events, albeit on a much smaller scale, had over the past months been organised in Jhansi and Aligarh, in which Sitharaman and Adityanath were also present. The Kanpur edition takes it several notches higher to raise the pitch before the foundation of the Corridor is laid, for which the CM is keen on inviting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Adityanath government had already identified more than 5,000 hectares for development under the proposed Defence Corridor, which is estimated to attract direct investment of about Rs 200 billion and create 2,50,000 jobs.

The state government intends to allot land to public sector Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) near the Agra-Lucknow Expressway. BEL is engaged in advanced aerospace and defence production for the Indian armed forces.

The Centre has de-licensed 275 defence related wares and encouraged private manufacturers to supply these to the forces by competing with the public sector undertakings (PSU), which earlier enjoyed monopoly over such supplies. These items are clubbed as ‘non-core items’ of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). The army can simply float tenders, in which both the private sector and OFB can participate. The Expo will also showcase the entire range of such de-licensed defence inventory.

The Defence Corridor was announced by Modi after inaugurating UP Investors Summit 2018 on February 21. It spans 6 districts viz. Aligarh, Agra, Jhansi, Kanpur, Lucknow and Chitrakoot. Another such Corridor is coming up in Tamil Nadu.

India is the world’s largest military hardware importer and among the top 5 military spenders. To meet growing modernisation needs of the armed forces, the country will acquire equipment worth US$ 250 billion by 2027, however, the current delivery capacity of the domestic defence sector is merely US$ 75-80 billion annually, indicating huge potential for the indigenous industry.

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