PM Modi to give Aero India 2019 a miss
Deccan Chronicle | DC Correspondent
Sources 368 participating exhibitors, with 61 aircraft on display, have confirmed participation at Aero India 2019.
At the inaugural of Aero India in 2015, Mr Modi made a strong pitch to end the country's dependence on defence imports through Make in India', promised a conducive environment for manufacturers.
Bengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to skip the inaugural of the 12th edition of Aero India at Air Force Station, Yelahanka, on February 20.
Official sources said the five-day air show would be inaugurated by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman as the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has indicated that Mr Modi would be preoccupied with meetings in New Delhi on February 20 and later during the fourth week of February.
At the inaugural of Aero India in 2015, Mr Modi made a strong pitch to end the country’s dependence on defence imports through ‘Make in India’, promised a conducive environment for manufacturers, including a discrimination-free tax system, and asked foreign firms not to be just "sellers" but "strategic partners". He had stressed the need for manufacture of 70 per cent of military hardware indigenously to help erase the tag of being number one importer of defence equipment. "From sellers, foreign firms must turn into strategic partners. "From sellers, foreign firms must turn into strategic partners. We need their technology, skills, systems integration and manufacturing strength," he had said while emphasizing on the need for partnerships in ‘Make in India’ programme.
Sources 368 participating exhibitors, with 61 aircraft on display, have confirmed participation at Aero India 2019. Among local aerobatics, ‘SKAT’ or Suryakiran Aerobatic Team will return with its nine aircraft formation after a gap of eight years. A big draw in previous air shows, pulling off awesome aerobatics in Kiran MK-II trainer aircraft, the ‘SKAT’ was disbanded after the air show in 2011 as the Indian Air Force (IAF) decided to restrict the use of Kiran MK-II only for training sorties in view of shortage of jets. Subsequently, ‘SKAT’ made a conversion to the Hawk Mk-132 Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) and have been training and performing with this aircraft since 2015. At Aero India 2017, however, it was a six aircraft formation, not a nine aircraft formation as with Kiran MK-II trainers.
In addition to ‘SKAT’, the IAF’s aerobatic helicopter formation display team will enthrall visitors in four HAL designed and manufactured helicopters ‘Dhruv’, a multi-role, multi-mission flying machine with capability to achieve maximum speed of 320 km an hour. The naval variant of home-produced ‘Tejas’ combat jet and the airborne early warning & control (AEW&C) aircraft, inducted by the IAF recently, would also fly at Aero India 2019, sources added.