Can't force forces to procure indigenous weapons, says Sitharaman

PM Modi calls for responsible pricing for affordable energy to all

Major worldwide companies, which are participating at the expo include Lockheed Martin, Boeing (US), Saab (Sweden), Airbus, Rafale (France), Rosonboron Exports, United Shipbuilding (Russia), BAE Systems (UK), Sibat (Israel), Wartsila (Finland) and Rhode and Schwarz (Germany).

Answering questions about the shift of Defexpo to Chennai, Sitharaman pointed to the designation of the Chennai-Bengaluru corridor as a "defence production corridor".

Later, interacting with the media, Sitharaman reiterated that the defence ministry was committed to Make in India project, and this DefExpo 2018 has given vast space to the small and medium companies.

While Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will witness the inauguration and live demonstrations at the Defexpo 2018 on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the event on Thursday and formally inaugurate it.On all the four days of the defence exhibition to be held at Thiruvidanthai, on the East Coast Road, will have live demonstrations of the naval, air and land systems.

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The NDA government is trying to project the 10th edition of the biennial event as first serious attempt to transform India into a hub of military manufacturing and pursue its goal of achieving turnover of Rs 1,70,000 crore in military goods and services by 2025 by promoting the domestic defence industry.

"But I can't for a moment imagine that I will prevail upon them that they necessarily buy what is Indian, much against certain other requirements which they may want to look at", the Defence Minister added. Addressing a press conference on the sidelines of the DefExpo 2018 (defence expo) here, the minister said her ministry had given emergency powers to the services to decide on the type and amount of equipment and ammunition to be purchased. "They are free to choose their equipment", she said. "We have given an opportunity to various organisations under Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to have multiple spaces to display".

The 10th edition of the Defence Expo is scheduled will begin in Chennai today. It is a conscious decision. The major defence manufacturing countries like Israel, France, Korea, Sweden, Russia, US, UK is taking part in the expo.

To that end, the DefExpo is focusing on India's ability to successfully manufacture defence systems - a shift from offering foreign firms a platform to showcase products the country could buy. India is considered as the largest importer of defence products. INS Sahyadri is indigenous built multi-role frigate with stealth and attack capabilities and INS Kamotra is again indigenous built anti-submarine warfare corvette. We are in the process of examining those comments and based on consultations with other ministries, the policy will be placed for final approval.

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