Indian Ocean defence ministers’ conclave, Tejas deal to be highlights of Aero-India

NEW DELHI: India is going full steam ahead to ensure the biennial military exposition “Aero-India” at Bengaluru from February 3 to 5. The Aero-India show will also include an Indian Ocean Region (IOR) defence ministers’ conclave.
The three-day Aero-India will also see the defence ministry inking the Rs 46,898 crore contract for 73 “improved” Tejas fighter jets and 10 trainers with defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics, the biggest-ever indigenous military deal that was approved by the Cabinet committee on security last week.
Billed as the “world first hybrid exhibition on such a large scale” due to the pandemic, with the “business element” of the event being both physical as well as virtual, this year’s Aero-India will overall have “more exhibitors” than the previous edition, said defence ministry officials on Thursday.
But the participation of foreign companies in Aero-India has dipped to 76 from 165 in 2019, though official delegations from 43 countries have confirmed their presence. Overall, there will be 537 exhibitors as compared to 403 last time, with more Indian companies coming forward. “All Covid-related protocols will be strictly followed,” said an official.
The IOR conclave, which will be hosted by defence minister Rajnath Singh on February 4, is an initiative “to promote dialogue” in an institutional, economic and cooperative environment that can foster the development of peace, stability and prosperity in the entire region.
“Twenty-eight countries have been invited to the conclave. It will address various aspects related to synergizing resources and efforts in the IOR, defence industry cooperation amongst the participating countries, sharing of resources available in Indian defence shipyards for design and shipbuilding, among others,” said the official.
India will also lay special emphasis on showcasing a variety of indigenously-developed helicopters, from the Dhruv advanced light helicopters to the light utility choppers, during Aero-India.
“The entire manufacturing ecosystem of helicopters in India, from avionics to materials and lifecycle support, will be on display. The aim is to start exporting indigenous helicopters on a large scale in the years ahead,” he said.

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