Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has expressed confidence that the 13th edition of Aero India -- considered Asia's largest aerospace exhibition -- to be held in Bengaluru, Karnataka, from February 3-5 will be a "grand success", with all the necessary COVID-19 precautions in place.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, who attended the Apex Committee meeting for Aero India 21, chaired by Mr Singh, said the government was spending Rs 30 crore in developing road infrastructure for the show this year in addition to meeting other direct and indirect expenses.
"There was a meeting here between the Karnataka government and the Defence Ministry, during which it was decided to make Aero India a grand success," Mr Singh said.
After attending the Apex Committee meeting, the defence minister said he has concluded after a review that all the preparations needed to make the air show successful are being done by the Karnataka government, Defence Ministry, especially the Air Force.
Bengaluru has hosted several editions of air shows in the past, Mr Singh said, adding that no other city in the country has the experience of organising the air show that this city has. Also the maximum number of aerospace industries in the country are in Bengaluru.
An official release, quoting the Minister at the meeting, said the order of 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) to HAL, valued at over Rs 48000 crore, would prove a boon to Karnataka in general and Bengaluru in particular in terms of generation of more than 50,000 jobs with extensive participation of MSMEs and private sector.
Since its inception in 1996, Bengaluru has been hosting the event.
This three day event is being dubbed as the "worlds first hybrid exhibition", wherein the Business element of the event will be both physical as well as virtual.
Aero India-21 is now being held simultaneously as a physical and virtual exhibition with stalls being provided in both the physical and virtual realms will result in greater engagement, the release said.
The exhibitors, the release said, would experience a greater outreach, catering to those who could not join the event physically.
At the meeting, an MoU was signed between the centre and Karnataka government towards defining the roles and responsibilities
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Secretary of the Department of Defence Production, Raj Kumar, Karnataka Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar and a host of Defence Ministry and state government officials attended the meeting.
Thanking the union government for giving the state the opportunity to conduct the air show since its inception, Mr Yediyurappa assured the best support from his government for this "mega event" even at the time of pandemic.
"Karnataka has been a pioneer in the aerospace sector and the state has a strong ecosystem in aerospace and defence industry. A quarter of India's aircraft and spacecraft industry is based in Karnataka, and the state government has supported the development of industry at critical times," he said.
Stating that Karnataka was geared up with all precautions and preparedness to conduct Aero India in Bengaluru amid the present global challenge of COVID-19,the CM said compliance of necessary protocols would be ensured at locations where international delegates and participants will be accommodated.
The city's Kempegowda International Airport will facilitate international delegates and VVIP dignitaries arriving at the airport to confirm with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on COVID-19 protocols for international passengers, he said, as he asked the organisers to ensure compliance of SOPs.
Mr Yediyurappa also said that the Karnataka government is spending Rs 30 crore in developing road infrastructure for Aero India this year, in addition to meeting with other direct and indirect expenses in the form of state support for security, fire service, health services and manpower.
According to a release, the Defence Minister also launched the Aero India-21 mobile app, which will be the handy interactive interface for all issues related to the event and promises to provide hassle free entry to the venue.
As the countdown for the mega Aero show has begun, 576 exhibitors and 35+ Foreign delegations have so far registered with the event being a complete Sell out, reposing their faith in the Ministry of Defence to further their A&D Business interests, it said.
Meanwhile, city civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike has issued a notice, informing the general public and proprietors of meat stalls, non-vegetarian hotels/restaurants to close all outlets and prohibited serving or sale of NV dishes within a 10 km radius of Air force station, Yelahanka, the venue of the air show, from January 17 to February 9.
Any violation of this would attract punishment under relevant sections of KMC Act, 1976 and Indian Aircraft rules 1937, rule 91, it said.