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India flags off massive arms fair

india Updated: Feb 16, 2008 14:55 IST

AFP
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India on Saturday kicked off South Asia's largest defence fair, with hundreds of global weapons firms offering their latest hardware to the country's technology-hungry military.

About 450 weapons companies from 30 countries are present at the four-day "DefExpo" in New Delhi, with several big-ticket announcements expected.

"This is going to provide you a big platform to showcase your capabilities and to interact, share and collaborate with each other," Indian Defence Minister AK Antony said as he opened the event.

Since 1999, India's military purchases have been worth 25 billion dollars. The country, which has the world's fourth largest military, is expected to buy another 30 billion dollars of arms in the next four years.

Up for grabs are deals for six submarines worth 2.3 billion dollars, an artillery contract tagged at three billion dollars and a global tender for helicopters as well as for scores of unmanned aerial vehicles.

India also plans to issue a tender for 126 war planes worth at least 10 billion dollars as early as March. Global aviation and arms firms from the United States, Britain, France, Israel and Russia are participating in the fair.