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India to host defence ministers of African countries during DefExpo in March

A file photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI):  India will host the defence ministers of African nations on the sidelines of the next edition of India's mega defence exhibition --the DefExpo-- to be held at Gandhinagar in Gujarat in March next year.

"It has been decided that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will host the defence ministers of African nations in the next India Africa defence dialogue on the sidelines of the DefExpo," the defence ministry said.

"The broad theme of this India-Africa Defence Dialogue will be 'India Africa: Adopting Strategy for Synergising and Strengthening Defence and Security Cooperation," it said in a statement.

The DefExpo is scheduled to be held from March 11-13.

The focus of the exhibition will be to showcase India as an emerging hub for the manufacturing of military hardware. The government is expected to highlight various measures taken in this regard.

Major global and domestic military firms are expected to participate in the 12th biennial edition of the DefExpo with their latest weaponry and platforms.

The 11th edition of DefExpo had taken place in Lucknow last year.

The theme of the upcoming DefExpo will be "India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub", officials said.

The government has initiated a series of measures in the last couple of years to encourage the domestic defence industry.

Last August, Singh announced that India will stop the import of 101 weapons and military platforms like transport aircraft, light combat helicopters, conventional submarines, cruise missiles and sonar systems by 2024.

A second negative list, putting import restrictions on 108 military weapons and systems such as next-generation corvettes, airborne early warning systems, tank engines and radars, was issued recently.

In May last year, the government announced increasing the FDI limit from 49 percent to 74 percent under the automatic route in the defence sector.


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