Shifting Aero India exhibition out is politically motivated: Kumaraswamy

Anil Urs Bengaluru | Updated on August 12, 2018

Aero India is synonymous with Bengaluru which has all the infrastructure: Chief Minister

The Karnataka Government has criticised the Centre for its plans to shift the prestigious ‘Aero India — the biennial airshow and aviation exhibition’ — to Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh terming the move as politically motivated. This outcry comes amid reports of the Defence Ministry planning to shift Aero India venue out of Bengaluru.

Aero India, which has been held in Bengaluru since 1996, has been attracting global majors. Additionally, the city has a strong Defence vendor base created by public sector units such as HAL, BEL, BEML and ISRO.

Karnataka has emerged as the aerospace capital of India, with a pioneering contribution of hi-tech ecosystem for the Indian aerospace industry. This has facilitated in attracting 65 per cent of aerospace investments and producing a quarter of the country’s aircraft and spacecraft. Also Boeing and Airbus are anchor investors in the Aerospace Park located near Bengaluru International Airport.

Aero India and defence PSUs had strengthened the entire aerospace eco-system which now comprises start-ups, SMEs and vendors all vying for orders.

Eye on Lok Sabha polls

Ever since HD Kumaraswamy became the State Chief Minister, he has been demanding retaining the premier air show and exposition in Bengaluru. The Chief Minister said in Hubbali during the weekend that the “Defence Ministry is shifting the world renowned Aero India to Lucknow this year with the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in mind.”

“Aero India is synonymous with Bengaluru and our city has all the infrastructure required to host the show. Yet it is being shifted to Lucknow,” he said. He, however, said the Centre or the Defence Ministry is yet to officially communicate to Karnataka about the shifting of the event.

Former Industries Minister and current Karnataka Revenue Minister, RV Deshpande, on Saturday, met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. During the discussion, Deshpande expressed his displeasure on plans to shift the grand military and commercial aero show to a new venue and stated that this decision is very unfortunate.

‘Will deepen the wound’

Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah too tweeted “reports of shifting #AeroIndia, from #NammaBengaluru which has necessary infrastructure, will deepen the wound caused by the recent exit of many defence projects under @BJP4India. The exit of #Rafael project from HAL is still in the memory of people of Karnataka.”

He continued to say: “We urge Ms (Nirmala) Sitharaman, who has been elected to Rajya Sabha from Karnataka, to first safeguard the interests of this land and neglecting will be an act of betrayal.”

Minister for Large and Medium Scale Industries, IT-BT, Science and Technology, KJ George, who has also been pitching for Aero India expo at Bengaluru said, “We are waiting for the Defence Ministry’s announcement. I hope the Minister (Nirmala Sitharaman) who is a Member of Parliament representing Karnataka will do justice in retaining Aero India in Bengaluru.”

Published on August 12, 2018

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