Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, on Sunday, said that India has set a target to achieve defence exports worth ₹25,000 crores by 2024, and Aero India 2023 will provide a renewed thrust to the government’s efforts to create a vibrant and world-class domestic defence industry to achieve ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in this sector.

Addressing media on the eve of Aero India, Defence Minister Singh stated that we envisioned the aero show to be a big event, but it has taken shape of an even more grand event. With participants from around 100 friendly countries and 800 exhibitors, this Aero show is the biggest so far, Rajnath Singh told reporters.

“A strong and self-reliant defence sector will play a pivotal role in helping India emerge as one of the top three world economies in the times to come. Achievements in the defence sector provide wide spin-off benefits to the Indian economy. The technologies developed in the field are equally useful for civilian purposes. In addition, a temperament towards science & technology and innovation is created in the society, which helps in the overall development of the nation,” he said.

Organised at Air Force Station, Yelahanka in a total area of around 35,000 sqm, the aero show is likely to witness the participation of the Defence Ministers of 32 countries, Air Chiefs of 29 countries and 73 CEOs of global and Indian OEMs. The five day event will showcase the advancement in niche technologies and the growth in aerospace and defence sector. Singh described the record international participation as the reflection of not just India’s buyer-seller ties with different countries, but also their shared vision of global prosperity.

To a query on Tejas LCA being powered by an imported engine, the defence minister stated, “We are in line to make it (engine) indigenously” which would address the major concern that true self-reliance would be achieved only when the country starts manufacturing in core technologies.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 14th edition of Asia’s largest aero show on Monday that carries the theme ‘The runway to a billion opportunities’. Among the major events lined up is Rajnath Singh will host Defence Ministers’ Conclave on Tuesday.

The conclave of friendly defence ministers would address aspects related to deepen cooperation for capacity building (through investments, R&D, joint venture, co-development, co-production and provisioning of defence equipment), training, space, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and maritime security to grow together, said the defence ministry.

Besides that the event comprises a CEOs Round Table, Manthan start-up event, Bandhan ceremony, air shows, a large exhibition, India Pavilion and a trade fair of aerospace companies, as per the defence ministry.

The major exhibitors include Airbus, Boeing, Dassault Aviation, Lockheed Martin, Israel Aerospace Industry, BrahMos Aerospace, Army Aviation, HC Robotics, SAAB, Safran, Rolls Royce, Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Forge Limited, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) and BEML Limited.