The much awaited Defence Expo 2020 was finally flagged off on 5th of February among much commotion and excitement in the city. Currently underway at Vrindavan Yojna & Gomti Riverfront, Lucknow's first ever Defence Expo was inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi. The Defence Expo aimed to establish India as a great defence/military equipment manufacturer. It has completed 2 days in the city and there's much that has happened in the last 48 hours.

From MoUs (Memorandum of Understandings) to live demonstrations here's everything about Defence Expo 2020 which made the news.

1. Defence Exports to increase to 5 billion dollars in next 5 years!

Prime Minister stated that India aims to expand defence exports by 5 billion dollars in the next five years. He also asserted that Uttar Pradesh is set to become a major manufacturing hub in the country while India will prove to be one of the biggest market globally.

2. MOUs worth Rs 55,000 crore to be singed

HAL, Israel Aerospace Industries and DTL signed MoUs for marketing, manufacturing & selling of IAI's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles on the very first day of the expo.

3. Defence Ministers of 38 countries participating

The expo is being attended by Defence ministers of 38 countries. 33 MoUs worth ₹55,000 crores are expected to be signed during the 5 day event.

4. Russia signed 11 MoUs with India on Day 2

Russia signed 11 MoUs with India on Day 2 of the mega event. Major companies such as BHEL, Bharat Dynamics Limited and Vista control from India, INVERSIA, UVZ and BEML from Russia are a part of these MoUs related to production of different defence equipment such as parts of T-72, T-90, Radar systems, ASW Rocket launchers and 3D modeling.

5. DRDO's Anti-Satellite Missile System

Among the displays, the DRDO's Anti-Satellite Missile System was a forbidding one. This missile system which is based on home-made technology, intercepts satellites in outer space. The virtual shooting range was also all the rage during the event.

6. Live demonstrations at Gomti Riverfront

Apart from the main exhibition, a live demonstration and show was also held at the Gomti Riverfront, beginning with a patriotic and riveting band performance. Yet what took the cake at the live show was the thrilling sword-eating, fire-eating from the Sikh Regiment, the martial moves of gatka and khukuri dance.

7. More on live demonstrations-

The counter-terror and rescue drills of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard made the whole affair a spectacle to remember.

Knock Knock

A horde of amazing things happened at the first two days of the Defence Expo and the third day is expected to be no less iconic. So keep your eyes peeled for more updates and happenings of the event.

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The Bhagwati Van is a man-made forest which is unique in more ways than one. The forest has been raised over 316 hectares of land, which has been reclaimed by the state government from encroachers. A total of 3.5 lakh trees, of more than 250 species, have been planted here.

Divisional forest officer (DFO), Kasganj, Diwaker Kumar Vashisht said, "We had been meeting villagers and convincing them since October last year to remove the encroachments. After the villagers agreed to vacate the land, we formed a local 'samiti' of villagers. It was all done without any public agitation."

The forest, which has its base in Puranic scriptures, is at Datlana Khaam village and has been declared as a Ganga 'gram'."It has Soronji 'teerth' and devotees from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and other states come to this shrine," said Vashisht.

The entire reclaimed land is divided into three parts. The forest raised at the spot has trees planted in specific formations to create 'vatikas' (gardens) mentioned in religious scriptures.

"We planted over two lakh trees in Mahavan forest, which is one of the three parts and has species like Sheesham and Khair that are naturally found along the Ganga. The other part is 'Shreevan', which has connection with 'Arth Ganga' under the central government's Namami Gange project. This has species which will be economically beneficial to farmers. We had promised farmers that we would help them increase their income through this plantation," he said.

The third is 'Tapovan' which has 51,000 trees and Vyas and Vidur 'kutirs'. At present, the forest is being managed by the forest department but later local groups of villagers may look after it.

The 'Dhanvantari Vatika' has 75 types of medicinal plants and herbs. The 'Nakshatra Vatika' has 27 tree varieties, planted in specific positions to represent 27 'nakshatras' (planets).

The 'Navgrah Vatika', planted to manage planetary influences, is also a part of it. 'Harishankari', has trees like 'peepal, pakad and bargad' planted together. The three tree varieties represent the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. 'Panchvati', the garden of five tree varieties mentioned in the Ramayana, also finds place here.

- With inputs from IANS

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