New Delhi: A race for Indian military contracts worth billions of dollars will heat up this month when the world’s top arms makers descend on South Asia’s biggest defence fair.
About 300 companies from 30 countries have signed up for the four-day DefExpo in New Delhi from 16 February, and there are expectations of many big-ticket announcements.
“This is the biggest ever defence exposition to be held by us and all the global players will be engaging,” chief organizer and member of the Confederation of Indian Industry Gurpal Singh said.
The defence ministry expects solid participation from arms vendors in what is billed as one of Asia’s largest defence shows, an official who declined to be named said in an informal briefing to reporters.
Since 1999, India’s military purchases have been worth $25 billion (Rs98,500 crore) and with the world’s fourth largest military, it is expected to buy another $30 billion of arms in the next four years.
Up for grabs are deals for six submarines worth $2.3 billion, an artillery contract tagged at $3 billion and a global tender for helicopters and scores of unmanned aerial vehicles.
Russia, which has ongoing projects worth $14.56 billion, wants to keep its position as India’s top weapons supplier and will be participating in the fair, the defence official said.
“They are finally wisening up to competition. So besides the usual presence of their Rosoboronexport State Corp., the Russians will be represented in a big way at the DefExpo,” the official said.
Another senior official said the government may announce a $2 billion contract with US-based Boeing Co. for eight long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft.