Defence Expo 2018: Modi to inaugurate the event today in Chennai

Narendra Modi at Def Expo 2018

Narendra Modi at Def Expo 2018

Sitharaman also said that the armed forces had been given free hand to go for equipment of their choice - be it Indian or imported. The reason for moving the event to Chennai was based on several factors such as access to a defence production corridor and the need to give exposure to Indian firms involved in the manufacture of defence equipment many of which being located in the southern states.

Despite being one of the world's biggest arms importers, India's $620 billion defence industry has not encouraged or engaged in contracts with foreign arms dealers like Airbus in over five decades. "They are free to choose their equipment", she said.

The government brushed aside on Wednesday concerns about a looming financial crisis that could cripple India's combat capabilities, saying "things are happening in the defence ministry" and "resources are adequate" to modernise the armed forces. "They are using indigenous products, maybe not as much as we would want, however, there is a fine line". The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the defence and research wing of the Ministry of Defence, today handed over three indigenously developed technologies to the Indian Navy, reported The Times of India. "It is a matter of extreme pride and a conscious decision to promote these institutions", she added.

The government allocated Rs 76,765 crore less to the Army, Navy and Air Force in the defence budget than what they had sought to purchase new weapons, aircraft, warships and other military hardware, according to official figures placed in Parliament last month. "If we are not providing space to display who else will", she said.

Narendra Modi at Def Expo 2018
PM Modi also spoke about the scrapped Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft deal

Major global companies that are participating include Lockheed Martin, Boeing (USA), Saab (Sweden), Airbus, Rafael (France), Rosonboron Exports, United Shipbuilding (Russia), BAE Systems (UK), Sibat (Israel), Wartsila (Finland), Rhode and Schwarz (Germany).

The DRDO is showcasing the Nirbhay missile system with its launcher, MBT Arjun Mk-I tank, Astra missile, low-level transportable radar system, medium power radar system and Varunastra - heavyweight anti submarine electric torpedo.

Secretary (Defence Production) Ajau Kumar said China was invited but it has not sent any delegation. "We are examining these and with consultation with other ministries we will soon come out with the policy", he said.

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