With an eye on the approaching elections, the government is advancing its mega Aero India show by a year and will be shifting it to Lucknow. The move is an attempt to showcase Uttar Pradesh (UP) as a manufacturing destination for global aviation companies.
This will be the second defence-industrial show by the government in six months. The Defence Expo was held earlier this year in Chennai to lukewarm response even as it faces questions on the inability to unlock ‘Make in India’ for the defence sector’.
Sources said Aero India, which was scheduled to be held in Bangalore in February 2019, is being shifted to the Bakshi Ka Talab air station in Lucknow and is likely to be conducted between October 27 and November 4 this year.
The change of time and venue has raised an alarm among both Indian and global defence companies that usually participate at such international shows. Most of these shows are planned a year in advance, giving companies adequate time to bring in platforms, personnel and equipment for display.
Moreover, there is a concern that participating in the second defence show in less than six months would have a financial implication given the high cost of display space as well as costs in bringing equipment to the venue.
It is unclear if foreign companies would be in a position to bring in showstoppers like fighter jets and military aircraft at such short notice.
This is the first time since its inception in 1996 that Aero India will shift out of its home venue at the Yelahanka airbase in Bengaluru and will be held in a non-scheduled year. The last edition was held in February 2017.
Shifting the show to Lucknow is part of a series of moves to promote Uttar Pradesh as a military manufacturing destination. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be in Aligarh on Saturday for an interactive session with the industry.
The session, to promote Aligarh as a node to a defence industrial corridor planned in the state, will also be attended by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and top defence ministry officials. It is believed that the formal announcement for Aero India will also be made at the event.
In the annual budget this year, the government has announced setting up of two defence industrial corridors – one in Tamil Nadu and the other in UP. Stakeholder interactions have been held in Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra and Jhansi in the last few months.
Source: Economic Times