Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman rolled out a red carpet of opportunities in local defence and aerospace manufacturing to global investors as she launched Aero India 2019 here on Wednesday.
As the 12th edition of the biennial international military and civil expo and air show opened at the Air Force Station Yelahanka, the gathering and airmen showered tributes to Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi, who was killed during a rehearsal on Tuesday.
“Aero India 2019 endeavours to put India as the global runway of a billion opportunities,” Ms. Sitharaman told a gathering of a few thousand invitees. Ministers, heads of global defence aerospace companies, corporate and government policymakers, military brass, entrepreneurs, delegates and exhibitors from across the world were at the event.
The chiefs of the three Armed Forces — Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, Admiral Sunil Lanba and General Bipin Rawat — were in attendance at the show organised by the Ministry of Defence.
Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre, Union Ministers D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Suresh Prabhu, Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra, Secretary-Defence Production Dr. Ajay Kumar and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Chairman Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy were at the event.
Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy highlighted Bengaluru’s establishment of itself as the country’s capital in design, research and production in aerospace and defence.
After many years, the edition brings civil aviation back to a largely military show. The Ministry said it was the biggest so far, with 403 exhibitors and 61 aircraft in static or flying displays.
Three IAF fighter jets and a Rafale aircraft paid an aerial tribute to Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi, who was killed in a midair mishap during a rehearsal on Tuesday. The Indian jets Tejas, Sukhoi Su-30MKI and Jaguar flew past in a formation called Missing Man. The pilot of a French Rafale fighter in a flying demonstration made a sombre flypast for the killed airman.
Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) did a jaw dropping vertical climb called the Charlie in memory of the late Atal Behari Vajpayee.