Def Expo 2020 shifts to Lucknow

Def Expo 2020 shifts to Lucknow

The BJP practice of rotating the venue of India's biennial exposition on military hardware continues unchanged, with the Defence Ministry deciding to hold the 2020 edition at Lucknow – the home of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. (File Photo)

The BJP practice of rotating the venue of India's biennial exposition on military hardware continues unchanged, with the Defence Ministry deciding to hold the 2020 edition at Lucknow – the home of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

The previous two editions in 2018 and 2016 were held at Tamil Nadu and Goa, the home state of the then defence ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Manohar Parrikar respectively.

In contrast, the first eight editions of the show that focuses predominantly on the requirement of the Army and Navy were held at Pragati Maidan in the national capital.

The ninth edition was taken to the Naqueri Quitol at Quepem taluka in south Goa by Parrikar, who also toyed with the idea of creating a permanent base for Def-Expo in Goa.

The fate of the showpiece event, however, changed with the departure of Parrikar from the South Block. His replacement Nirmala Sitharaman – a Tamilian by birth who represents Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha – took the show to further south in Chennai.

The justification given behind the shift was that the exposition would help push the Tamil Nadu defence industrial corridor, which has been proposed as a link connecting Chennai to Hosur, Coimbatore, Salem and Tiruchirapalli.

A similar reason has now been cited by the Defence Ministry to change the venue to Lucknow for the 11th edition of Def-Expo, to be held between February 5-8, 2020.

Contrary to the Indian practices, such military shows have a permanent venue all over the world.

“One of the two defence industrial corridors is planned in Uttar Pradesh. The exhibition will highlight the emergence of UP as an attractive destination for investment in the defence sector and act as a platform for alliances and joint ventures in the defence industry,” the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

“The northern state has a strong defence industrial infrastructure. It has four units of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd at Lucknow, Kanpur, Korwa and Naini (Prayagraj), nine ordnance factory units, including Kanpur, Korwa, Shahjahanpur, Firozabad and one unit of Bharat Electronics Limited at Ghaziabad,” it added.

Earlier, Sitharaman also made an attempt to transfer Aero-India, the two-yearly air show held in Bengaluru, to Bakshi Ki Talab Air Force Station in Lucknow. The plan, however, couldn't materialise due to infrastructural issues and protests from the Karnataka government.