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30 nations at defence show

New Delhi, Feb. 4: A total of 368 companies from 30 countries have booked space in one of Asia’s largest defence exhibitions — Defexpo 2014 — that begins here on Thursday and will run till Sunday.

In addition, 256 Indian companies would also be participating. Italian-major Finmeccanica, the holding company of AgustaWestland, and all firms that are blacklisted or against whom corruption allegations are being investigated have been barred from participating.

The enthusiasm of foreign participants, eager to get a slice of the Indian defence pie, continues despite questions on tardy defence procurement. India remains one of the largest buyers of military equipment in the world and the eighth edition of the exhibition is set to showcase the importance that weapons-makers give to the country.

“We tell them there are processes to be followed. Besides, Defexpo is not only about buying but also about future needs,” defence production secretary G.C. Pati said here today when asked what India tells sellers who look askance about its defence purchases.

France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Russia, the UK and the US are among 12 country pavilions at the exhibition. India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will showcase “its full range of products”, said Pati.

Russia, the largest supplier of defence equipment to India, would be the biggest participant with 37 companies. France with 24 and Israel with 20 follow.