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Defexpo to focus on land, naval systems

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, JAN 31. The third international defence exposition opening this week in the national capital will see participation by some of the world's major arms companies from 19 countries.

The Confederation of Indian Industry, the organisers, put the number of companies participating in this year's exposition at 350 against 300 in the last event.

The exposition is taking place against the background of two developments. First, the Government has allowed 100 per cent private participation in the defence industry with foreign direct investment permissible up to 26 per cent subject to licensing.

The Government is understood to have provisionally cleared over a dozen applications filed by Indian companies. Second, the Government has been urging existing public sector defence companies and prospective private sector entrants to factor the export market in their business plans.

The exposition will allow Indian companies to showcase their products as well as network with players in the global industry and apprise them about the service they could offer.

Four seminars will run concurrently with the exposition. These will discuss various trends in the defence industry and include the topic of `offset in defence' which is a form of compensatory trade agreement that incorporates methods of reducing the foreign exchange outgo for importing a military equipment and creating revenue to help pay for it. A visit by a strong defence delegation from the U.K. will coincide with the exposition.

The objective of the delegation is to explore the possibilities for co-operation with India in defence production.

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