Lucknow: It’s almost like a warzone! And Lucknow is up to the task - putting up a very spirited show hosting one of the biggest defence exhibitions held in India so far.
Every bit of space in this historic city has been booked for putting up the participants who are landing from different parts of the world. You should be lucky to get a place to stay and the hotel prices tariffs have gone through the roof already.
A prominent 5-star hotel is charging over a lakh for a night’s stay while many others are hovering around the Rs 50,000-75,000 range.
Lucknow is all decked up for the show with almost all prominent roads leading to event site getting a fresh coat of paint. The Uttar Pradesh government has put the best officials drawn from various departments to ensure smooth conduct of the show.
Vridavan Yogana, Sector 15 – the event site - is around 18-20 km from the main city centre and as this piece is put to shape, the SPG (Special Protection Group) officials have already begun their activities ahead of the inaugural session on Wednesday.
As a SOP (standard operating procedure) the event site is being sanitized on Tuesday evening ahead of the first day, first show on Wednesday.
Apart from inaugurating the event Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will interact with a group of defence ministers from different countries.
As reported by Onmanorama earlier, the theme of 11th edition of DefExpo 2020 – held from February 05 to 09 - is ‘India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub with the organisers hoping that the show will open up new vistas for the government, private and startup segments.
Participation from over 1,000 Indian and around 165 foreign companies have been confirmed so far.
During a visit to the mammoth exhibition site on Monday, Onmanorama saw global majors, desi giants and promising start-up firms giving the last-minute touches to their stalls.
Defence PSU Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) is launching an AI-based Mobile Healthcare Diagnosis System to address the medical needs of the armed forces. It is also unveiling a Medium Bullet Proof Vehicle (MBPV).
BEML is also exhibiting its Mobile Standby Command Post Vehicle (MSCPV), Bulldozer with Hydrostatic Transmission drive technology (BD50HST) and 20-tonne class heavy transportation vehicles.
The exhibition area is mammoth – with indoor and outdoor spaces all packed with war equipment. In many ways Vridavan Yogana now resembles a ‘Kumbh Mela’ of military equipment.
Abhinav Sharma, a website developer and defence enthusiast, says that this is the biggest ever show Lucknow have ever seen.
“With Lucknow having a Cantonment, we are used to the military culture. But an event of this scale is definitely an eye opener for all of us. Also, to see so many fighter jets roaring over our homes. This is a dream come true for us,” says Abhinav, who is a resident of Vridavan Yogana.
Guruprasad H L, Defence PRO (Bengaluru) told Onmanorama that the show has many new features added in tune with the Make in India theme.
“This show at Lucknow will set new benchmarks. From start-ups to the large aerospace companies, there’s something for everyone to gain. This will be the biggest Make in India show,” says Guruprasad, now part of the DefExpo MoD here.
(The writer is an independent aerospace and defence journalist, who blogs at Tarmak007 and tweets @writetake.)