What are DefExpo and Vayu Shakti events and is the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict the reason for the delay?


The highly-anticipated 2022 edition of ‘Vayu Shakti’, which was scheduled to be held from today at Rajasthan’s Pokhran test facility, has been deferred. This is the second such defence-related event that has been pushed back.

Earlier, the Ministry of Defence had said the premier defence exhibition DefExpo-2022, which was proposed to be held in Gandhinagar between 10-14 March, has been postponed as participants are experiencing problems related to logistics.

What are these two events, what was special and why have the dates for these events been pushed back? Here are the answers to all your questions.

Vayu Shakti exercise

The Indian Air Force {IAF} carries out Exercise Vayu Shakti at Pokharan range every three years to demonstrate its readiness to conduct full spectrum operations.

The last time the exercise was carried out was in 2019.

According to officials within the IAF, as per a PTI report, a total of 148 aircraft of the Indian Air Force were scheduled to demonstrate their capabilities at this year's exercise.

The Rafale aircraft was scheduled to participate at Exercise Vayu Shakti for the first time with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the chief guest.


Last Friday, the Ministry of Defence pushed back the 12th edition of DefExpo-2022. The DefExpo scheduled to take place in Gandhinagar from 10-14 March, 2022, will now be moved to another date.

According to reported information, the event was to see the participation of around 70 countries. According to its website, the DefExpo is a flagship biennial event of the Ministry of Defence, showcasing the land, naval, air as well as homeland security systems.

The event is aimed at building India’s self-reliance in the defence sector and also achieving its defence exports target of $5 billion by 2025.

Organisers of the event had said that Asia’s largest defence exhibition would see participation from countries such as the US, Russia, several EU countries and Ukraine.

All preparations for the event were on till Friday morning when defence secretary Ajay Kumar tweeted, “Defence startups pitch to VCs at @defexpo2022. Great opportunities for VCs to invest in best technological brains of India.”

However, later in the day, the MoD issued a statement saying that due to ‘logistical problems with participants’, the event was being pushed back and new dates would be communicated soon.

Connected to Russia-Ukraine?

When it comes to Vayu Shakti, no official reason has been given for the delay. However, many speculate that IAF’s crucial role in evacuating Indians from war-hit Ukraine — as part of Operation Ganga — could be why the exercise has been deferred.

Till date, the IAF has flown 10 flights to bring back 2056 passengers, while taking 26 tonnes of relief load to these countries, as part of Operation Ganga.

The MoD in its official announcement has made no mention of the Russia-Ukraine war in the pushing the dates for the largest defence exhibition.

The Financial Express report, citing a senior officer said that the ongoing war is the main reason for the event to be postponed. “Several participants from across the globe were not able to participate due to the ongoing war in their region.”

With inputs from agencies

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What are DefExpo and Vayu Shakti events and is the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict the reason for the delay?
What are DefExpo and Vayu Shakti events and is the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict the reason for the delay?
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