New Delhi/Bengaluru (DHNS): The government on Saturday declared that the next edition of Aero India will be held in Bengaluru from February 20 to 24 next year, putting to rest speculation about the venue and date of the trade and defence biennial event.
"The government has decided to hold Aero India 2019 in Bengaluru from February 20 to 24, 2019," the Defence Ministry said in a statement in Delhi.
The 12th edition of the five-day biennial event will be held at the Yelahanka base of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Bengaluru’s northern outskirts.
"The trade event will showcase technologies and products of global and Indian aerospace and defence firms, with static and flying display of military and civil aircraft, including fighters, jets, helicopters and air weapons.
The announcement comes amid speculation that the government has decided to shift the show to Lucknow where a huge defence corridor linking Agra, Aligarh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Jhansi and Chitrakoot in Bundelkhand region is being built at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath too had urged Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to hold the event ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha elections in the state that sends the maximum 80 members to Parliament’s Lower House.
It was also speculated that the government had decided to advance the show to be held later this year.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had made it clear that no announcement had been made even as "people in many places are asking for (the show to be held in their states)."
The Defence Ministry had also received requests from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha and Tamil Nadu to host the next show. But all those apprehensions have been dispelled.
The 12th edition will host global leaders and investors in the aerospace industry, think tanks from around the world, providing an opportunity to exchange information, ideas and new developments in the industry, the ministry statement said.
"The air show will also give a fillip to the domestic aviation and further the cause of ’Make in India’. The defence production department is committed to ensure a result-oriented air show," the statement added.
The Karnataka government welcomed the ministry’s decision to hold the air show in Bengaluru only.
"It’s a great relief that the air show is not moving out of the city, which is also the country’s aerospace hub. We thank the Defence Ministry for the right decision," a senior official in the Chief Minister’s Office told IANS in Bengaluru.
The official confirmation on continuing the air show in Bengaluru came within a month after Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold it in Karnataka as in the past two decades.
"I seek your intervention for conducting the 12th edition of Aero India-2019 in Bengaluru, where the mega event was held for 11 times biennially since 1996," said Kumaraswamy in a letter to Modi on August 13.
"As the hub of defence and aerospace majors in the country, Bengaluru is the most suitable place to conduct Asia’s premier air show, as evident from the huge response it got from the world over in the last 22 years," noted the letter.
In the 11th edition, held from February 14 to 18, 2017, 549 firms -- both global and Indian -- from 51 countries participated.
"Bengaluru has become synonymous with the air show for which the defence ministry and the state government had invested in upgrading infrastructure, including the air base, roads, highways and public amenities," said the letter.
Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar also said in a tweet on August 13 that Sitharaman had clarified to him that no decision was taken to shift the air show to Lucknow from Bengaluru.