India has indefinitely postponed its largest defence exhibition. And the Russia-Ukraine war may have something to do with it.
“Due to logistics problems being experienced by participants, the #DefExpo2022 proposed to be held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat from March 10th till March 14th is postponed,” A Bharat Bhushan Babu, the Indian ministry of defence’s spokesperson, announced today (March 4). The new schedule for the event is yet to be announced.
DefExpo is a major defence exhibition of military security systems in Asia, with participation from 70 countries and and various companies across the world. For instance, American aviation company Boeing was scheduled to showcase its defence systems this year.
While the ministry itself has made no mention of it, the delay is possibly related to the Ukraine war because Russia was among the leading speaker countries at the event, with an India-Russia conference slated for March 10.
In the past, the India-Russia military industrial conferences have led to several cooperation agreements being inked between the two countries. In 2020, during the last DefExpo, India and Russia signed 14 memorandums of understanding for the production of military equipment such as rocket launchers and radar systems.
What is DefExpo?
The DefExpo is a biennial event, and this year’s edition would have been the 12th. Indian authorities expected nearly 1,000 exhibitors to participate this time. It is a key platform for bilateral defence trade between countries, as well as business-to-business deals between leading companies in the sector.
The expo is also a platform for India to showcase and invest in military innovation. The event was to be held at three venues in Gujarat, including a helipad venue, a convention centre, and live demonstrations for the general public at the Sabarmati riverfront.
Earlier meant to be a three-day event, the ministry extended it to five days given the level of interest it was gathering from exhibitors.