Aero India 2019 – Bangalore Retains Venue Despite Political Pressures
The Government of India has finally announced that the Aero India 2019 will be held in Bengaluru (Bangalore) from 20-24 February 2019. This comes after there was speculation that the premier air show was likely to be held in Lucknow the capital of Uttar Pradesh (UP), a state which is presently under the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) which leads the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the centre as well.
UP made a strong claim after the government declared an industrial corridor during the DefExpo 2018 held in Chennai and a number of meets have been held to project the State as an investment destination for industry in the defence sector.
However Bangalore is India’s premier aerospace hub and has been holding the airshow regularly each year since 1996. The concentration of the aerospace industry and defence research and development organisations laboratories in and around Bangalore makes it a destination of choice for such a show.
Hyderabad is another aerospace and R & D hub in close proximity. Karnataka has also developed the Bangalore – Belagavi corridor defence industrial hub.
Lucknow apart from a small airbase at Bakshi Ka Talaab near the capital lacks not only aerospace but sizeable industry and thus was a poor choice.
However, due to penchant of the Ministry of Defence to hold defence exhibitions based on the political considerations there were qualms.
The last two Def Expo were held in Goa and Chennai supposedly the home states of the incumbent defence ministers.
The five-day Aero India 2019 event will combine a major trade exhibition for the aerospace and defence industries with public air shows.
Besides global leaders and big investors in aerospace industry, the show will also see participation by think-tanks from across the world.
It will provide a unique opportunity for exchange of information, ideas and new developments in the aviation industry. Besides giving fillip to the domestic aviation industry it would further the cause of Make in India.
The Department of Defence Production is committed to make this a successful and result oriented show says the Press Information Bureau Release.
Now that the decision is taken the Ministry of Defence must also announce at the end of Aero India 2019 the dates of Aero India 2021 with Bangalore continuing as the venue as is the international norm for such events.
This will provide greater stability to holding of the marquee events, enable planning by exhibitors and Original Equipment Manufacturers thus resulting in wider participation.