NEW DELHI — Defexpo India 2016, the ninth in the series of biennial Land, Naval and Internal Homeland Security Systems Exhibitions, March 28 to 31st at Goa will see participation by a record number of more than 1,000 domestic and foreign defense companies, according to Ashok Kumar Gupta, the secretary of defense production in the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD), which is also hosting the event.

Being held for the first time outside New Delhi, Defexpo 2016 will see live demonstrations of weapons systems, including a display of a homemade 155mm/.45-cal. Howitzer Dhanush artillery gun, an improved version of the homemade Arjun main battle tank and a display by artillery guns made by private-sector defense company Bharat Forge.

Defense companies will showcase their weapons systems and equipment to tap the Indian defense market valued at around $150 billion in the next 10 years.

US-based companies will be the largest participant at Defexpo, 2016 with 93 participants, followed by Russia, with 71. Additionally, companies based in France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Russia, South Korea and the UK will join the 490 foreign participants from 47 countries.

MoD will not announce any defense contracts during Defexpo, according to an official, who also said no significant business is expected to be transacted in Defexpo.

However, several announcements of tie-ups between overseas and domestic companies are expected in the exhibition as big ticket tenders are being anticipated in the near future, largely to be given only to domestic companies.

Whereas India meets 70 percent of its weapons requirements through imports, the Narendra Modi government is making policy changes to boost the domestic defense market still in its infancy. As such, the majority of the tenders will be given to the domestic defense companies who will then tie up with overseas companies.

The Modi government increased the limit of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from 22 percent to 49 percent, but the response from overseas defense companies has been poor, with FDI worth $160,000 has been come into the country, sources in the MoD said.

Vivek Raghuvanshi is the India correspondent for Defense News.

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