(Eds: Changing dateline, with additional inputs) Thiruvidanthai, Apr 11 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi will formally inaugurate Defence Expo – a biennial exhibition of weapons and military hardware – here tomorrow though he will observe a day-long fast, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today.

“I will fast. He (Modi) will be fasting. But it will not stop him from inaugurating the expo,” Sitharaman told reporters.

Modi and other BJP leaders are slated to observe a day-long fast tomorrow to protest against the washout of the budget session of Parliament due to disruptions by the opposition.

The four-day-long expo began here today with the participation of major global and domestic military firms. However, it will be formally inaugurated tomorrow.

A raft of defence deals including for setting up joint ventures were signed between private industries on the sidelines of the expo.

Delegations from over 40 countries including from the US, Russia, France and the UK are attending the expo.

Over 670 defence firms including 154 foreign defence manufacturers are participating in the exhibition of weapons and military hardware.

Secretary (Defence Production) Ajau Kumar said China was invited but it has not sent any delegation.

We also get invitation to participate in various global exhibitions. But we do not participate in each one of them, he said.

Modi will also visit the Cancer Institute, Adyar in Chennai and will inaugurate a variety of infrastructure projects, including a palliative care centre, day care centre and nurses quarter during his day-long visit, an official statement said.

The tag line of DefExpo this year is India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub to showcase India’s capability in export of defence systems and components, the statement said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.