New Delhi: Unlike last time, there is no bar on blacklisted companies from taking part in the Defence Expo being held in Goa next week, the largest ever hosted by India that will see participation of over 1,000 companies.
"Is there any bar on participation of blacklisted companies? This is a commercial exhibition. You can come and participate. Debarment is from the point of view of purchase by the Ministry of Defence. They can showcase their products to other countries and enter into collaboration," Secretary (Defence Production) Ministry of Defence, AK Gupta said.
He was replying to a question on whether blacklisted companies will be allowed to participate. The 4-day exposition begins on March 28.
In February 2014, when the DefExpo was held in Delhi, the Defence Ministry had decided to keep 27 Indian and foreign firms, including those facing the CBI inquiries, out of the biennial military exhibition.
Director of Defence Exhibition Organisation, Wing Commander MD Singh, said one such company Finmeccanica is participating in the event.
In 2014, the Defence Ministry had kept AgustaWestland's parent company Finmeccannica, which was under the scanner over the VVIP chopper scam, out of the show along with its other group companies including Selex, Alenia Armacchi, Oto Malera and WASS.
Told that Finmeccanica was barred from participation in the last show, Gupta said, "It was not last show but last to last last show. Since last show, we have been allowing the participation of these companies".
Finmeccannica was later allowed to participate in Aero India show last year.
The largest contingent from abroad this time will be the US. 93 American companies are participating in the exhibition followed by 71 Russian firms, 46 from UK, 39 from Germany, 28 each from France and Israel, besides others.
In total 490 foreign defence firms are attending the 9th edition of DefExpo, the first time it is being held outside the national capital.
In 2014, 369 foreign companies had participated. Among the Indian companies too, there has been a significant jump. While in 2014, 256 domestic companies had come, the figure is already 540 this time.
Talking about speculation on whether the next 'Aero India' will be held in Goa or as usual in Bengaluru, Gupta said no decision has been taken yet.