Aero India 2019 to be held in Bengaluru, says Centre amid row over venue
Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath had appealed to defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman to allow his state to host the airshow, with the Bakshi ka Talaab air base in Lucknow being projected as a likely venue. Speculation was rife that the show could be held in UP in November 2018.india Updated: Sep 08, 2018 22:31 IST
The defence ministry on Saturday announced that Aero India 2019, Asia’s largest airshow, will be staged in Bengaluru next year, ending speculation that the biennial event may be moved out the Karnataka capital, its traditional venue, to Uttar Pradesh.
The show will be held at the Yelahanka air base from February 20 to 24, a government spokesperson said.
“This five-day event will combine a major trade exhibition for the aerospace and defence industries. Besides global leaders and big investors in aerospace industry, the show will also see participation by think tanks from across the world,” said a defence ministry statement.
The uncertainty surrounding the venue of the 12th edition of the airshow and its timing had upset both Indian and foreign companies, which plan their calendar for such global events several months in advance.
Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath had appealed to defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman to allow his state to host the airshow, with the Bakshi ka Talaab air base in Lucknow being projected as a likely venue. Speculation was rife that the show could be held in UP in November 2018.
The Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress government in Karnataka had also launched a campaign against any possible shift of Aero India out of Bengaluru.
“Besides giving a fillip to the domestic aviation industry it would further the cause of ‘Make in India,;” the defence ministry statement said, referring to the government programme aimed at promoting manufacturing and foreign investment. “The department of defence production is committed to make this a successful and result-oriented show.”
The announcement was welcomed by industry. “It’s a great move to stick to the traditional venue and announce the dates well in advance so that exhibitors can plan their participation”, said the representative of an aviation company.
The airshow is being held at a time the defence ministry is pursuing a raft of modernisation programmes including a fresh hunt for fighter planes, naval helicopters, infantry weapons, artillery guns and mid-air refuellers.
One of the biggest projects likely to be cleared by the government is that for equipping the air force with 110 new fighter planes. It is likely to get the ministry’sso-called ‘acceptance of necessity’ (AoN) soon, kicking off a long-drawn acquisition process. Foreign manufacturers will compete for the order by stitching up alliances with Indian firms under the government’s strategic partnership model to locally produce the jets.
In August, the defence acquisition council, headed by Sitharaman, cleared projects worth Rs 46,000 crore, including a Rs 21,738-crore programme to build 111 naval utility helicopters under the SP model to replace the navy’s outdated fleet of French-designed Chetak choppers.
First Published: Sep 08, 2018 11:34 IST