UKIBC play key role at DefExpo 2020 in Lucknow, India

By Prasenjit Dhar

With the UKIBC’s recently set up Aerospace and Defence Industry Group (ADIG) gaining greater momentum, it was natural, therefore, that we were asked to play a key role at the DefExpo in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. 

Together with departments from the UK and Indian Governmentswe supported the UK business delegation of over 30 companies, one of the largest international delegations at DefExpo 2020 (of a total of 172 foreign exhibitors). This high-level delegation was led by the UK Minister for Defence Procurement, Mr James Heappey. The Director for DIT DSO, Mr Mark Goldsack and the Acting British High Commissioner to India, Jan Thompson were also present.             

On 4th February, the eve of DefExpo, the UKIBC hosted the UK Minister for a dinner and networking session to meet senior representatives of our Aerospace & Defence Industry Group and representatives from the British Government including Brig. Mark Goldsack CBE – Director of DIT DSO and Brig. Gavin Thompson, Defence Adviser at the British High Commission in Delhi. 

The discussion included partnership and market opportunities for British companies in India as well as a discussion about the operating environments in India and the UK. This event helped further focus the joined-up thinking that the UK presented at DefExpo 

The key areas of focus for the UK was on partnership and collaboration with India. Both our governments have expressed interest in promoting industrial collaboration and two-way investmentsIn a statement, the UK Minister said: 

“The UK and India have much to offer one another in defence research, development and training. I am delighted we are establishing government-togovernment contracting to encourage collaboration, cooperation and partnerships across our two defence industries.    

This approach is vital in a world where future defence technologies are increasingly going to be delivered by collaborative programmes; and will also play a key part in defence supporting the Make in India initiative. This week, we will build momentum in these areas, to ensure the UK is a partner for today and the future.” 

We also worked closely with our partners and our Aerospace and Defence Group members to help organise a UK-India Industry Forum session at DefExpo on 6th February, where the UK minister, the Indian Special Secretary for Defence Production, senior officials from DSO and key businesses were present.   

At that event, UKIBC and the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) signed a memorandum of understanding to forge closer defence ties between the two countries. This is a strategic move to further collaboration and reaffirms the UK-India partnership’s intent for even more trade and investment, made possible through strong economic and industrial cooperation between the two nation’s defence industries. It also seeks to promote a sustainable framework for the present as well as future partnerships.  

Later that day, UKIBC Vice Chair for India Richard McCallum was invited by the Society of India Defence Manufacturers to attend an interactive discussion with the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, along with representatives of trade bodies from France and South Korea. Richard updated the Chief Minister on the size of the UK’s delegation to the exhibition and thanked him and his team for organising a highly impressive and well-organised event. 

DefExpo 2020 has proved a strategic corner stone for UK-India collaboration and cooperation in this area. My colleagues at UKIBC and I look forward tfurther strengthening thties through our ADIG group and wider connects that our MoU with SIDM will help bring together. 

UKIBC has been working closely with the UK Government – especially with the Defence and Security Organisation (DSO) within the Department for International Trade (DIT), as well as with the UK Defence Solutions Centre and with ADS, the industry body representing UK companies in this sector. UKIBC also works closely with our key contacts within the Indian Government both in India and in the High Commission of India in London. 

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