India rises as defence partner

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Feb 26, 2019, 12:23 am IST
Updated Feb 26, 2019, 12:23 am IST
Undeterred, the Surya Kiran aircraft returned to enthrall aviation buffs at the end of the show.
Tragically claiming the life of an ace pilot a day before the inauguration, and a shocking blaze in a parking lot that gutted some 300 cars.
 Tragically claiming the life of an ace pilot a day before the inauguration, and a shocking blaze in a parking lot that gutted some 300 cars.

Aero India 2019 may have had its share of misfortune: a mid-air collision of two aircraft of the IAF’s Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT), tragically claiming the life of an ace pilot a day before the inauguration, and a shocking blaze in a parking lot that gutted some 300 cars. Undeterred, the Surya Kiran aircraft returned to enthrall aviation buffs at the end of the show.

A deafening silence, however, on the part of MoD about the venue of the next air show, routinely announced at the end of the event, amid murmurs that the area around Yelahanka airbase was getting over-developed and was no longer safe for aerial manoeuvres, has set off speculation that the mishaps could be cited to move the event to another city.

 

Will political compulsions overtake the need to retain Bengaluru as the venue? Beyond the deafening roar of the steel birds at Aero India 2019 was an audible change in the language of every global aerospace and defence major: India is no longer viewed solely as a lucrative marketplace, but as a partner to roll out hi-tech products for international and domestic markets. Irrespective of whether they are based in the US or Europe, these firms circulated “please partner us” invites to public and private sector companies as well as start-ups in this aerospace hub. The advantage of leveraging local talent would help make their weapons cost-competitive across the world. Some 50 MoUs were signed. Even if half the number of MoUs fructify, the growth in the aero-defence industry would have an exponential impact on job creation in the related industries. Why would anybody mess with that?

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