The 13th edition of Aero India, country’s premier aerospace and defence exhibition, kickstarted amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, pushing for “AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan” and “Make in India” programmes. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the Aero India 2021 here at IAF Station Yelahanka.
Addressing the mega event, Singh said that India plans to spend 130 billion dollars on military modernisation in the next 7-8 years. “We have taken steps to strengthen our security apparatus. Domestic manufacturing of bigger and complex defence platforms has now become the focus of our policy under ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’,” the defence minister said.
“To achieve the twin goals of self-reliance and exports, we have set a target to achieve a turnover of Rs 1,75,000 crore, including export of Rs. 35,000 crore in Aerospace and Defence goods and services by the year 2024,” Singh said.
In an attempt to attract foreign investments in the defence sector, Singh informed that government has enhanced FDI in defence sector up to 74 per cent through the Automatic Route and 100 per cent through the government route, which would act as a catalyst for foreign players to invest in India.
“The Aero India 21 will display the vast potential of India, and the multifarious opportunities that our country offers in the field of defence and aerospace sector. It also promises to be the World’s first-ever hybrid Aero and Defence exhibition,” Singh said.
The defence minister asserted that the government’s vision is to make India one of the biggest countries of the world in the defence sector, from design to production, with the active participation of the public and private sector.
“A high-level committee has been constituted, which would authorise exports of major indigenous platforms to various countries, leading to faster approvals for their export,” Singh announced.
He expressed happiness over Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) getting the go-ahead from the Indian Air Force (IAF) for producing Tejas MK1A aircraft.
“I am very happy that HAL has got the orders for the development of 83 new indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) – Tejas MK1A from IAF valued at more than Rs 48000 crore, it is probably the biggest “Make in India” Defence contract till date,” Singh said.
Overwhelmed with the participation of foreign players at Aero India, the defence minister said that “despite the constraints caused by the global pandemic, I am pleased to see such a large number of participants in this year’s event. It is coming from the world’s leading nations in the field of military and aviation”.
Ahead of the inauguration of Aero India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the event will add impetus to the country’s quest to become self-reliant.
“India offers unlimited potential in defence and aerospace. Aero India is a wonderful platform for collaborations in these areas. The Government of India has brought futuristic reforms in these sectors, which will add impetus to our quest to become Aatmanirbhar,” PM Modi tweeted.
The biennial international event at Air Force Station Yelahanka will be both a physical and virtual exhibition and the world’s first hybrid aerospace show, officials said.
“Aero India is a platform for aerospace enthusiasts, prospective defence industries, aspirant start-ups and all other stakeholders to participate and witness the advances in global defence and aerospace fields and interact with many national and international delegations and industries,” they added, as per the report.
As many as 601 exhibitors, including 523 Indian and 78 foreign, and 14 countries will be participating in the event. Companies will display their capabilities, latest technologies, solutions, products and services at the show.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will showcase its latest defence technologies and demonstrate many systems. Other key attractions will be flight display by ‘Surya Kiran’ aircraft and ‘Sarang’ helicopters.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) would display its Aatmanirbhar Formation Flight. “The ‘Aatmanirbhar Formation Flight’ consisting HAL products such as LCA trainer (LIFT Trainer), HTT-40, IJT, Advanced Hawk Mk 132 and Civil Do-228 will fly in a special formation showcasing the spectrum of trainers and signifying self-sufficiency in the trainer segment,” news agency PTI quoted HAL as saying.
Think-tanks from different parts of the world will also be present. “Aero India will provide a unique opportunity for the exchange of information, ideas and new developments in the aviation industry. In addition to giving a fillip to the domestic aviation industry it would further the cause of ‘Make in India'”, officials said.
Rules for attendees
Only 3,000 visitors will be allowed at the flight display venue in view of the pandemic.
Attendees have to carry a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test report (dated January 31, 9 am or later) for the three-day event.