New Delhi: Raksha Mantri Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the 12th biennial edition of International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition and declared the Aero India 2019 open today amidst a lot of fanfare at Air Force Station Yelahanka in Bengaluru. This edition of Aero India, for the first time, combines the defence and civil aviation segments into a holistic event with the co-involvement of the defence and civil aviation ministries in the event. More than 600 Indian Companies and 200 Foreign Companies are participating and witnessing the largest Air show of Asia.
Present at the occasion were Chief Minister of Karnataka HD Kumaraswamy, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu, Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr Subhash Bhamre, Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation Sadananda Gowda, the three Service Chiefs of the Army, Navy and the Air Force, Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra, Secretary Defence Production Dr Ajay Kumar, Chairman and Secretary DRDO Dr Satheesh Reddy, delegates from several foreign countries, senior serving officers from the three Services, veterans, and senior executives from defence industries.
During her inaugural address Nirmala Sitharaman welcomed a host of Foreign Ministers and Deputy Ministers along with their delegations who were representing various countries from all around the world. She said that this edition of Aero India intended and endeavoured to put India on the Global map and intended metaphorically to be a “Runway to a billion opportunities”!
She said that lately India had established itself as the hub of manufacturing and export of various world class avionics equipment and she added that the country now had the potential for “Nose to tail production”. She hailed the “Make in India” initiative of the Government that had provided the impetus for increased self-reliance in Defence and stressed on the need for instituting provisions for creating the ecosystem for utilisation and consolidation of design and manufacturing facilities to create a ‘robust supply chain system’.
During her address, Raksha Mantri hailed several policy initiatives of the Government under the ‘Make in India’ viz. 100% FDI in Defence Manufacturing, Defence Offset Policy 2016, Delicensing of Defence items, iDEX and the Defence Investor’s cell. She quoted S 92 Helicopter cabin, Advance Aircraft Cockpit, Glass Cockpit for Dornier and CH-47 Pylon for Boeing as some recent successes displayed at the Indian Pavilion. She also hailed Indian PSUs for manufacturing more than 4000 aircraft including LCA, LCH, ALH, C295 etc.
Nirmala Sitharaman further stated that the government was committed to create an enabling environment for a domestic ecosystem of defence manufacturing, the results of which were already visible. She said, “With the policy initiatives and the procedural reforms, I am confident that India will emerge as a key player in the global defence arena. We will create an ecosystem in which there would be enhanced technological collaborations of the public as well as private sectors with the foreign Defence OEMs. Strategic partnerships will be forged with increased integration of skills, systems, technologies and manufacturing capabilities.”
A total of 61 aircraft are participating in the event out of which 31 are flying. The total area of the show has grown from 27,678 sq m to 28,398 sq m this year.