BENGALURU: Even as the Centre is said to be thinking of moving the prestigious Aero India aerospace exposition from Bengaluru to Bakshi Ka Talab near Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, the Karnataka government is confident of retaining the biennial event in the city.
Reacting to reports about the Centre contemplating to move the show out of Bengaluru, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Friday said the next edition of the show, Aero India 2019, will be held in Bengaluru. “I have no information about the event being moved to Lucknow. Such reports were in the air in the past too. The show will remain with Bengaluru this time as well,” he added. On Saturday, the CM is meeting Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman in the city and will be addressing a joint press conference on Saturday on acquiring defence land for infrastructure projects. The issue is likely to come up during the meeting.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara accused the Centre of attempting to end Bengaluru’s dominance in the defence sector. “Plan to snatch Aero India Show away from Bengaluru in favour of Lucknow is very unfortunate. We have been conducting it successfully since 1996,” the DyCM stated. He alleged that the move comes after the Bengaluru-headquartered defence PSU HAL was “snubbed” for the Rafale deal.
Defence experts also feel that any move to shift the air show will not bode well for the Aero India brand as it might prove to be a deal-breaker for many, including participants.
Bengaluru is the best place to host Aero India: George
Making a case for the air show to remain in Bengaluru, Industries Minister K J George said the city has been hosting the event since 1996 and there is no reason to move it out. “Bengaluru is the best place to host the event and even the defence minister is from our state (Nirmala Sitaraman is a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka) ... there is no reason why they will shift it,” George said confidently.
The biennial air show, which Bengaluru has been hosting since 1996, has grown over the years and it is now considered as one of the most prestigious events of its kind in Asia.
A number of foreign and domestic defence sector firms display their products, including fighter jets and helicopters at the event held at Air Force Station Yelahanka in Bengaluru.“Bengaluru plays a dominant role with the maximum concentration of aerospace companies and Aero India belongs to Bengaluru. It won’t be possible to take it out of Bengaluru,” said aviation expert Devesh Agarwal.