Maharashtra MSME Defence Expo 2024 Commences in Pune, Fostering Defence Sector Advancements

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DEFENCE-MANUFACTURING
(L to R) Harshdeep Kamble, Principal Secretary, Industries and Mining, Chandrakant Patil, Higher and Technical Education Minister, Devendra Gangadharrao Fadnavis, Deputy Chief Minister

Maharashtra celebrated the opening of its inaugural MSME Defence Expo at the Pune International Exhibition and Convention Centre. This event promises three days filled with groundbreaking discussions, exhibitions, and partnerships, all aimed at boosting medium and small enterprises and establishing the state as a key hub for defense manufacturing.

The Maharashtra MSME Defense Expo stands as a prominent display of the resilience and ingenuity present in Maharashtra’s defense sector. In collaboration with Nibe Limited, serving as the knowledge partner, this expo is in line with the ethos of Atmanirbhar Bharat, which emphasizes self-reliance and excellence in defense manufacturing. This event acts as a platform that brings together leaders from the industry, policymakers, and stakeholders to promote collaboration, exchange knowledge, and stimulate progress.

More than just a gathering, the expo encourages substantial dialogues and the formation of strategic alliances, showcasing Maharashtra’s dedication to nurturing a robust defense ecosystem for continuous advancement and growth. The expo was honored by the presence of esteemed dignitaries such as Devendra Gangadharrao Fadnavis, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra; Uday Samant, Minister for Industries; Chandrakant Patil, Minister of Higher and Technical Education; and Harshdeep Kamble, Principal Secretary of Industries and Mining, Maharashtra, among others.

Their participation marked a significant milestone in the field of defense innovation and collaboration. The exhibition, touted as a groundbreaking initiative in the region, has attracted more than 500 MSMEs and startups, with over 100,000 registrations, including a significant turnout of over 20,000 students from Pune. Esteemed industry giants like L&T, Mahindra, Tata, and DRDO have come together to exhibit their capabilities, highlighting Maharashtra’s growing prominence as a key defense production hub.

This event acts as a catalyst for promoting collaboration within the industry, showcasing advanced technologies, and enhancing expertise in the defense manufacturing sector. Devendra Gangadharrao Fadnavis expressed his excitement about Maharashtra’s inaugural defense expo taking place in Pune, a city of strategic importance for the country’s defense manufacturing ecosystem. Maharashtra boasts 11 ordnance factories, 5 defense PSUs, a cutting-edge DRDO facility, and the prestigious NDA, a renowned training institute for the Indian Armed Forces.

India has not only initiated the production of defense equipment but has also established partnerships with companies for technology transfer. Given that defense equipment necessitates advanced technologies, Pune, being a technology hub, serves as an ideal location for fostering collaborations between MSMEs and PSUs. Fadnavis emphasized the importance of MSMEs in strengthening the defense manufacturing supply chain, noting that expos like these will enhance India’s defense capabilities.

Uday Samant expressed excitement about the launch of Maharashtra’s groundbreaking MSME Defence Expo, highlighting its role in fostering innovation and collaboration. The Maharashtra Government has introduced four clusters to boost the state’s defense capabilities, aiming to establish Maharashtra as the nation’s premier defense hub. The Prime Minister’s focus on Atmanirbhar Bharat in the defense sector has spurred the growth of several defense MSMEs, bolstering the country’s defense capabilities.

During the expo’s opening day, participants enjoyed a wide array of stimulating sessions, including speeches, panel talks, and keynote presentations by respected figures from government bodies and industry leaders. Discussions covered various topics, such as ‘Enhancing India’s Defence Ecosystem,’ where experts from Bharat Forge, L&T Defence, and Thales shed light on the existing state of India’s defence ecosystem. They stressed the importance of a national mission program to leverage the potential of both the domestic defence ecosystem and technology providers from abroad.

A standout feature has been the display of cutting-edge indigenous technologies led by startups in Maharashtra. Ranging from drones for aerial surveillance to bio-polymer platform-based products for wound care, these innovations represent a significant advancement in defense technology. The MSME Defence Expo aims to enhance the Maharashtra MSME ecosystem by establishing a strong foundation for the defense production sector’s supply chain.

Through fostering collaborations between academia and industry, the expo aims to facilitate defense manufacturing and exports, creating a dynamic ecosystem for the state and the nation. As the expo unfolds, it is poised to be a transformative event that will propel Maharashtra to the forefront of the defense sector, driving economic growth, and ensuring national security.

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