Countdown Begins for Aero-India 2023

By Sri Krishna

Aero India 2023, Defence Industry

New Delhi: With the countdown having begun for the much-awaited five-day 14th edition of the biannual  Aero India 2023 from February 13 to 17, Bengaluru is all  set for the inauguration of the event by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Air Force Station in Yelahanka. The biannual air show is a renowned aerospace expo ever since it took off in 1996.

The Department of Defence Production which spearheads the organizing of the event, took to Twitter to share the information, writing, “Asia’s Biggest Air Show #AeroIndia2023 announced. Save the dates 13th-17th February 2023. The biennial airshow will be held at Air Force Station, Yelahanka, Bengaluru, Karnataka. The visitors to the show would be treated to an aerial show by the IAF and they will also get to see a significant trade fair of the aerospace and defence sectors. The exhibition will also feature involvement from international think tanks in addition to participation from major aerospace investors and world leaders.

The event which is a major one in the defence and aerospace calendar provides an excellent opportunity for the sharing of knowledge, concepts, and cutting-edge advances in the aviation sector and give a major boost to the country’s goal of “Atmanirbharta”, Make in India in addition to boosting the local aviation sector.

According to the Aero India website, 737 exhibitors have signed up to take part in the event. Of the 737 exhibitors, 643 are from India and 94 are from 30 other nations. Delegates and exhibitors from more than 55 nations have previously congregated in 2021. Among the Indian companies which would be at this prestigious event include Bharat Electronics Limited, BrahMos Aerospace and Bharat Dynamics Limited who will showcase their innovations.

The show assumes significance since  the  Indian Defence sector is at the cusp of revolution. The Government has identified the Defence and Aerospace sector as a focus area for the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ or Self-Reliant India initiative, with a formidable push on the establishment of indigenous manufacturing infrastructure supported by a requisite research and development ecosystem. The vision of the government is to achieve a turnover of $25 billion including export of $5 billion in Aerospace and Defence goods and services by 2025.

With India positioned as the third largest military spender in the world, with its defence budget accounting for 2.15% of the country’s total GDP, in the coming five to seven years, the government plans to spend $130 Billion for fleet modernisation across all armed services. To support the domestic defence industry the government aims to ensure transparency, predictability, and ease of doing business by creating a robust eco-system and supportive government policies. Towards this end the government has taken steps to bring about de-licensing, de-regulation, export promotion and foreign investment liberalisation. Ministry of Defence has also notified three ‘Positive Indigenisation lists’ comprising of 310 defence equipments to be manufactured locally.

The government has also announced two dedicated Defence Industrial Corridors in the States of Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh to act as clusters of defence manufacturing that leverage existing infrastructure, and human capital.  Further, to enable innovation within Defence and Aerospace eco-system there are supportive government schemes such as iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence) and DTIS (Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme).

Chairing a meeting of the Apex Committee of Aero India via video-conferencing in New Delhi on January 24, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “AERO India is an international biennial program. Many defence ministers, army chiefs, international delegations, industrialists and others take part in this program.” The 14th edition of Asia’s largest aero show will cover an area of 35,000 sq metres and this edition will be the largest-ever Aero India, he said.

Three different types of tourist tickets are offered. Air display viewing area (ADVA) tickets, general visitor tickets, and business visitor tickets are all available. A single day and a single admission are permitted with the General and ADVA ticket. The Business ones, however, are acceptable for numerous entries on a single day. For Exhibition and ADVA, general admission tickets have been priced at  Rs 2,500 for Indian citizens and $50 for foreigners. The cost of the ticket for an ADVA guest is Rs. 1000 for Indian citizens and $50 for foreigners. The cost of the business visitor ticket is $150 for foreign nationals and Rs 5,000 for Indian citizens. GST is included in the prices for all pass categories.

Earlier on January 9, Defence Minister had briefed foreign envoys about the show at the ambassadors’ round table conference where he expressed hope the upcoming air show would surpass the benchmark set in the previous edition. Regarding the last Aero event, he said it had had an unprecedented level of attendance, with over 600 exhibitors physically present and another 108 online, 63 countries, and over 3000 business-to-business meetings.

According to Singh, Aero India is a top international aviation trade event that gives Indian aviation and defence industries, especially the aerospace industry, a chance to present its goods, services, and solutions to national decision-makers. The minister said India has been seeking to improve its defence manufacturing skills, notably in the newly developing fields of drones, cyber technology, AI, radars and other equipment.

At the Apex Committee meeting, the Defence Minister exhorted the stakeholders to ensure fool proof arrangements for the participants of the airshow. He said that Aero India 2023 will not just be an event, but a display of the growing prowess of the defence and aerospace sector and the rise of a strong and self-reliant New India.

The  theme of  Aero India is ‘The runway to a billion opportunities’, and the marquee events at this show would be the Defence Ministers’ Conclave, with the theme ‘Shared Prosperity Through Enhanced Engagement in Defence (SPEED)’, and a CEOs Roundtable. The Manthan start-up event and Bandhan ceremony, which witnesses signing of MoUs, will also be part of the event, along with an air show on all the five days.

“Not just the private sector, but R&D establishments and academia are also working together with the government. Aero India is a medium to provide a platform to all the stakeholders to jointly strengthen the defence and aerospace sector and contribute to nation building,” Singh said. He commended Bengaluru for successfully organising several editions of Aero India, saying that the event is shaping Karnataka as an epicentre of aviation and aerospace industry.

“The State is known for its skilled manpower and robust defence manufacturing ecosystem. It is a preferred center for manufacturing and R&D activities for domestic and multinational defence and aviation companies,” he said.