Maharashtra recently hosted its debut defence expo, the MSME Defence Expo 2024 in Pune, highlighting India’s strides in indigenous defence production and cutting-edge technologies

The event, spanning three days, unveiled a range of defence equipment and technologies, showcasing the nation’s progress towards self-sufficiency in defence manufacturing.

A key focus of the expo was the signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) between the government of Maharashtra and prominent entities like Max Aerospace and Aviation Pvt Ltd, SBL Energy Ltd, and a collaboration between Nibe Ltd and Munitions India Limited. These partnerships underscored the commitment to advancing indigenous defence capabilities.

Wide array of products

With over two lakh visitors, the expo featured leading defence companies such as DRDO, L&T, Solar Industries, Bharat Forge, Nibe Ltd, Tata Advanced Systems, among others, displaying a wide array of products from small arms to advanced air-defense systems.

Notable exhibits included the Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv, Light Combat Helicopter Prachand, Dhanush artillery gun, Field Howitzer 77 Bofors gun, T-90 Bhishma and Arjun Tanks, and the Infantry Carrying Vehicle BMP-II. Attendees also had the opportunity to view the Indian Air Force’s Make in India manufactured Samar II and the Akash surface-to-air weapon system.

The expo featured insightful panel discussions addressing the current landscape of the defence ecosystem and the challenges and opportunities in achieving self-sufficiency in defence manufacturing. Additionally, distinguished guests including Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari, Admiral R. Hari Kumar, Chief of Naval Staff, and Gen. Manoj Pande, Chief of Army Staff, engaged with students, discussing the prospects and challenges in the defence sector.

Hub of innovation

Admiral R. Hari Kumar highlighted India’s vision to be a fully developed country by 2047, emphasizing the importance of making ships, submarines, aircraft, and defence equipment in India. Gen. Manoj Pande praised Pune as a hub of innovation and assured support to MSMEs to strengthen India’s indigenous defence capability. Dr. Samir V Kamat, Chairman of DRDO, emphasized the need to foster an ecosystem that unites academia, MSMEs, and startups to lead globally in defence by 2047.

Ganesh Nibe, Chairman and MD of Nibe Ltd, expressed pride in associating with the expo as the Knowledge Partner, highlighting its role in promoting India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and achieving self-sufficiency in producing critical defence assets.