Aero India, an air show and aviation exhibition, has been held in Bengaluru since its inception in 1996, but this year, Defence Minister said many states approached the government to host the event.

Dont shift Aero India out of Bengaluru Ktaka leaders write to Defence Minister Vishak Pillai via Wikimedia Commons / Image for Representation
news Controversy Tuesday, August 07, 2018 - 16:41

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao on Tuesday appealed to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman asking that Aero India is held at Bengaluru's Yelahanka Air Force Station, where it has been held ever since its inception in 1996.

On behalf of other Karnataka leaders, Gundu Rao has written to the Defence Minister pointing out that the southern states had been short-changed by the central government on more than one occasion.   

"The Centre has even gone as far as to shift the only CRPF centre in the south (Taralu in Karnataka), to Chandoli in UP, even though UP has five centres already. The move to Chandoli was sanctioned even when there were no premises for the CRPF there while our state which offered them all the facilities required and catered to personnel from the south lost out," reads the letter.

He pointed out the manner in which Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was treated in the Rafale deal.

"The fact that the Govt. of India would negotiate a deal and allow a newly formed private entity to work with Dassault while its own PSU i.e. HAL suffered as a consequence, shows the indifferent attitude of the government. HAL not only lost out on technology but also the opportunity to employ thousands of people for the project which would have been a much-needed boost for our state," the letter adds. 

He further revealed that reports that Aero India would be shifted out of the state came as a shock to several leaders. 

"Aero India has been hosted by Karnataka since 1996 and our air base is still one of the best in the country for this purpose. Aviation experts and companies across the globe congregate in what is the largest aviation event in the country which is not only a matter of pride for our state but is a much-needed shot in the arm for our very own indigenous aerospace industry," reads the letter.

He requested the Defence Minister to ensure that the event is continued in Bengaluru. 

Dinesh's appeal comes amid a chorus of support for the event to be continued in Karnataka by several leaders in the state including Chief Minister Kumaraswamy. 

Aero India is an air show and aviation exhibition held biennially. The appeal by state leaders comes days after the Defence Minister claimed that many states had approached the government to host the event and that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is yet to decide the venue. 

Preparations for the grand occasion usually begin a year in advance but with six months to go for the 2019 edition of the event, there is still no clarity on where the event will be held.