There was a time when India used to occupy the lion’s share of the world’s arm imports. Things have changed for the better now. So much so that countries all across the world are flocking towards our Defence Expo. These Expos are turning out to be troublesome for established hegemons like the US and China, and PM Modi himself makes no bones about it.
PM Modi’s dig at China and the US
At the 2nd Defence Expo of 2022, the Modi government’s Make-in-India initiative is doing wonders. PM Modi has called its success a “major boost” for India’s defence industry. He opines that the rise of India in a cooperative way is giving hope to the rest of the world. PM Modi cited inconveniences caused by a few countries to substantiate his point.
In what seemed to be a brutal dig towards China, PM Modi said, “I know this (Defence Expo) has caused inconvenience to some countries, but several countries with a positive mindset have come together with us. 53 African nations that are friends of India are standing shoulder to shoulder with us. “
India’s defence manufacturing journey summarised
The Defence expo is biannual event being held by the government of India from 1996. But it gained momentum only after the Modi government was voted to serve people in 2014. The dilapidated state of India’s Defence manufacturing was not a good base to work on. But the Modi government introduced a slew of reforms to make it the backbone of India.
These reforms include the revision of the FDI limit; emphasis on transparency in defence deals; assimilating local MSMEs into defence production units; restrictive measures such as earmarking a list of defence products to be made only in India; technology transfer clause; corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board; establishment of defence corridors and project management units, among others.
Defence exports are emerging as backbone of India’s rise
Resultantly, India’s defence products are in demand all across the world. India’s defence exports have risen by 334 per cent in five years. The government has set a target for annual defence export of Rs 35,000 crore by 2025.
It is here that the role of defence expos come in. Countries from all across the world visit these expos to see India’s rising defence manufacturing capacity. Turns out, most of these countries fall within the spheres of influence of China and the USA. African countries and those fed up with China in the Indian Ocean Region are main participants in it.
Even this year, Representatives of 50 African countries, including 20 defence ministers & service chiefs, actively held talks with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in India-Africa Defence Dialogue (IADD). The talks are being held on the sidelines of Defence Expo. No wonder China is jittery. India’s rise in Africa will put an official end to China’s BRI adventure.
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