Bengaluru: Fearing another attempt to shift the prestigious air show from this aerospace hub, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa shot off a letter to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for his consent to hold biennial Aero India in Bengaluru in February 2021, an official said on Saturday.
“Yediyurappa personally gave the letter to Singh in New Delhi on Friday evening for approval to hold the 13th edition of the air show in Bengaluru only on suitable dates in February 2021,” an official in the Chief Minister’s Office told IANS here.
Amid speculation that the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh government is again pitching to host the air show at Lucknow, Yediyurappa not only urged Singh to approve the southern state’s request but also finalize the dates for staging the 5-day mega event.
“Bengaluru has become synonymous with Asia’s premier air show Aero India, as the biennial air-cum-defense expo attracts giants of the industry from the world and thousands of people from across the country and overseas,” asserted Yediyurappa in the letter.
As Singh is also a Lok Sabha member from Lucknow, stakeholders in Bengaluru are apprehensive that he may shift the event to his constituency, where the 11th edition of DefExpo 2020 was held on February 5-8 for the first time.
To pre-empt any move again by the Uttar Pradesh government to shift the air show from Bengaluru to Lucknow, riding on the success of hosting DefExpo, Yediyurappa wrote to Singh for allowing the BJP government in Karnataka to co-host the air show.
“Your early approval for hosting the air show in Bengaluru, where the event has been held biennially since 1996 will enable us to make all the arrangements required for such a mega show with international participation,” reiterated Yediyurappa in the letter.
The 5-day show is held every 2 years at the Yelahanka airbase of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on the city’s northern outskirts and near the Bengaluru international airport at Devanahalli.
Besides showcasing aerospace products and technologies by Indian and overseas firms, the event will have a static and flying display of fighters, helicopters, civil aircraft and aerobatics by IAF teams and ace pilots of combat aircraft of global aerospace majors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Dassault, Gripen, and Eurofighter.
Attempts were also made twice to shift the air show to Panaji in Goa in 2015 and 2017 when late Manohar Parrikar was the defence minister in the NDA-1 government, as he hailed from the western state.