In the mid-1970s, India’s economy was going through a rough patch. In such circumstances, the Association of Indian Engineering Industry (AIEI) – later known as the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) – was tasked to organize the first-ever Indian Engineering Trade Fair in 1975.
The show was later re-christened as the International Engineering & Technology Fair (IETF) and is held biennially. Dynamic and responsive to the nation’s needs, it encompasses the entire gamut of industry activities.
IETF’s progress, over the years, has been impressive and with each event, it has grown in stature. In 1981, it infused dialogues on energy conservation, utilization of renewable sources, Africa-Indian engineering cooperation, Asian Development Bank (ADB) projects, and industrial and technical cooperation between developing countries.
The Technology Transfer Show Window (TTSW) in 1983 provided exposure to foreign technologies for the first time. With the introduction of the ‘Partner Country’ concept (1985), Indian industry was able to establish specific relations with an identified market. Italy was the first partner country.
By 1987, coinciding with the Congress of The International Chambers of Commerce, which was attended by 800 business leaders from all over the world, IETF had already begun to be recognised as an international industry forum for joint discussions and business networking.
With the United States of America as Partner Country in 1989, a special feature ‘New Products and Technologies’ saw the nation witnessing some of the most advanced technologies available in the world. The UK and Germany were the Partner Countries in 1991 and 1993 respectively. IETF had put itself on the global map, and its status as the best organised and attended fair of a newly liberalised India was further strengthened.
The year 1995 marked the centenary year of CII. Italy again was the Partner Country, with the largest ever Italian industrial exposition in Asia. Hon’ble President of India, Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma, and Dr Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, the Hon’ble President of Italy, inaugurated the fair. Parallel shows on environment protection, energy conservation, and research and development highlighted the industry needs during the fair.
The 12th IETF (1997) with the coveted UFI Certification attracted participation from 34 countries. Japan, as the first Asian Partner Country, set a new record with 150 companies displaying state-of-the-art technologies across an area of 10,000 square meters. Korea was the Partner Country in the next IETF, which was attended by over 1,000 Korean businessmen and a record 850 overseas participants from 46 countries.
IETF in subsequent years saw Spain (2001), China (2003), South Africa (2005 & 09), Japan (2007, 2011, 2015 and 2017), and Korea (2013) as the Partner Countries and set new benchmarks.
Spread across 30,000 square meters, IETF 2019 focussed on Artificial Intelligence (AI), healthcare, and environment. With participation from over 500 companies from 25 countries including India, the fair for the first time had Start Up Zones offering smart and intelligent solutions for manufacturing and services.
Three concurrent shows viz. Health Tech India; India Gaming Show; and AI India Expo set the tone for the future course of business. Visitors included CEOs, decision-makers, technical experts, sourcing personnel, diplomats, Trade & Government Delegations, media, and general public.
The objective of fairs such as IETF is to help create a platform for CII membership and the industry to showcase their strength to the international business community and use it as a forum to network with the global industry to learn and upgrade technologies, explore joint ventures, technology tie-ups and FDI possibilities in India. It also promotes next-generation businesses and forges partnerships with government and other industry stakeholders besides serving as a global sourcing hub .
With the Indian economy poised to reach the five trillion dollar GDP mark, IETF is facilitating capital flow, bringing new technologies and expertise, and fostering innovations with enhanced skill development to promote intellectual property and best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure. IETF’s role in bringing about this paradigm change is unique and historical, and it has been crucial in building “Brand India” and its capabilities.
We look forward to the next edition of this mega show in 2021!