By Sangeeta Saxena
Greenwich, London. 13 September 2019. The tricolours of the national flag were for the first time vibrant in both the North and South Halls of DSEi. It was not just the Government of India pavilion with the Defence PSUs and DRDO which attracted the Indian attention but also the beautifully painted in Indian landmarks Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) pavilion with exhibitors there to welcome the onlookers and the well painted but deserted Assocham-India pavilion. Yes India was for once more visible than Pakistan in a show and we the Indian media corps members were proud of this fact.
MDL, BDL, DRDO, GRSE, GSL and OFB participated in in the show and surprisingly BEL which was a regular in past DSEis was conspicuous by its absence this time.
The pavilion built by XS Worldwide created a space that demanded attention and could properly showcase the products and services, while maintaining an open floor plan and it was definitely impressive and attracted eyeballs.
But terribly missing were the exhibits from Indian DPSUs in the outdoor exhibition area unlike the previous editions of the show and the Indian Naval Ship docked in the River Thames at Greenwich.
The show opened with élan and so did the Indian pavilion which was inaugurated by the Secretary for Defence Production Subhash Chandra. The pavilion was also visited by Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyam, The Indian High Commissioner at UK.
As always it was the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) delegation which was the cynosure of all eyes at the show. The team DRDO was headed by Director General(NS&M) Dr. Samir.V Kamat and he was happy about the significant interest by various defence companies of the world and hopes these will materialise into future collaborations.
The DRDO delegation also had the lady in the hot seat Nabanita R Krishnan, Director Directorate of Planning & Coordination. She spoke about the entire gamut of the DRDO and felt it was an opportunity to see the possible areas of collaboration with the global defence industry and organisations. DRDO’s Director, Directorate of Public Interface was also in the delegation.
Activity has been brisk and promising CMD Bharat Dynamics Ltd Cmde Siddharth Mishra (Retd.) told ADU at DSEi. He informed that he will be visiting the Stevanage Facility of MBDA to sign MOU for offset programme of MBDA Missiles which will be manufactured in India through the offset plant. MBDA will create facilities in India for testing and manufacturing of these missiles systems. He will also be visiting the Belfast plant of Thales to sign MOU for finalisation to manufacture Starstreak missile in India for supply to Indian armed forces but also for export to various countries through Thales.
The oldest shipyard Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd signed a MOU with Kongsberg . C&MD, Rear Admiral V.K. Saxena IN (Retd.) GRSE told ADU that GRSE was focussing on export of war ships to friendly foreign countries like African, Eastern region countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar and Vietnam, Latin American countries and others and DSEi has given it a platform to showcase its state of the art design and manufacturing to the prospective market. He added GRSE could concurrently make twenty warships eight large and twelve medium and small ships. He said they were also looking out for major suppliers of equipment who were exhibiting at DSEi. GRSE has a strong order book of Rs.28,000/- crores. GRSE signed a MOU with Kongsberg at the show.
Rakesh Anand, CMD of Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited signed MoU with ASMAR Shipyards of Chile and TAIS GEMI INSA VE TEKNOLOJI A.S. ISTANBUL of Turkey and met a lot of foreign delegations from interested countries. He told ADU at DSEi that their focus was to look for new technologies, potential clientele for export orders and are stalking on potential forty leads some of which could be converted. MDL is entrenched in the present with its eyes on the future . In the last six months it has filed for nearly sixty patents. He added that they were committed now to bid for the 75 India project. He also informed that Khanderi will be delivered on the 16th of September to the Indian Navy which will be commissioned by Defence Minister on 28th September. Also the same day will see the launch of the first of the Leander Class Nilgiri ship.
The Goa Ship Yard Limited delegation at DSEi was the only one out of the DPSUs not headed by the top boss. In the absence of Cmde Bharat Bhushan Nagpal, Chairman & Managing Director, it was led by Brajesh Kumar Upadhyay, General Manager who did not have the permission to speak with the media. So all the information is from his tweet in the India Pavilion. They had officials from Defence forces, decision-makers from various countries and some industry leaders at the booth including the Secretary Defence Production.
The Ordnance Factory Board at DSEi was represented by Prakash Agarwala, Deputy Director General /Export who informed ADU that they exported to Malaysia and Indonesia and were looking towards Thailand and other countries in the South East Asia. They are also targeting Africa and Middle East. He added that almost all the leading defence manufacturers also are here and OFB looks forward to strategic tie ups with them to become a part of their global supply chain. OFB is already supplying to leading OEMs from Europe and is a part of the supply chain of US market also.
One of the Indian manufacturer to watch out for is Mumbai based Advanced Systems which has a growing export market for anti-riot products like body protectors and helmets. They showcased their latest product the female body protector produced keeping the women in forces in mind and should be the first of its kind globally.
Some important ones but less in focus like SMPP, Cyient, Brij Systems, RADNIK, Exicom Technologies, Applied Systems and may be some more had either their independent booths or were co-located with their foreign partners. They also need to keep the media informed of their presence at the show, so that Indian media is able to cover their activities at the show.
ASSOCHAM-India pavilion had under its umbrella some big wigs like Adani, MKU, PLR Systems, Tatas, MerlinHawk, Johnette and others whereas the Indian Chambers of Commerce had the lesser known but active MSMEs Jalan Shipping Agencies Private Limited, Kheraj Electrical Industries (P) Ltd, Turbo India, Cams India, Frontier Protective Wear Private Limited and many more as a part of their delegation.
It was unfortunate that none of the two associations told the covering Indian media about their presence at the show and so it was just by chance that the media bumped into the pavilions and saw the Indian presence but couldn’t do much about covering them as it was the third day late afternoon just before the close of the show. Had they also tapped our potential like their foreign counterparts the Indian footprint could have been stronger.