Bengaluru: The tenth edition of the Aero India show got off to a flying start today with Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscoring the need to modernize India’s defence forces and increase both vigil and preparedness.
Inaugurating Aero India 2015 at the Air Force base in Yalahanka on the outskirts of the city, he said: “We have to equip ourselves for the needs of the future, where technology will play a major role.”
Impressed by the metal birds and the technology at display, he said Aero India reflected a “new level of confidence within our country and global interest in India”. At the heart of every new technology there is a new mission — the Make in India programme, he added.
Modi and a crack team from the Defence witnessed the air prowess and daredevilry aerobatics teams from all over the world. Among the fighter aircraft that displayed the intrinsic manoeuvrability in the skies were the homegrown Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Sukhoi-30, Mirage-2000, Jaguar and the Advance Jet Trainer (AJT) Hawk.
French aerospace major Dassault Aviation flew its medium multi-role combat aircraft Rafale to demonstrate its awesome strike force, as the IAF has short-listed the MMRCA for induction in its frontline fleet in place of the ageing Russian-made MiG-21.
Indian Air Force also demonstrated the flying and striking skills of the Advance Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv, the Sarang aerobatics team, heavy-lift transport plane C-17 Globemaster-III of the Boeing and the Russian-made Ilyushin-76 transport aircraft.
Daredevilry feats by Flying Bulls of Czech Republic, AeroSuper Baltics and Aerowind Services from Britain, Scandinavian air show team Wasp and Open Skydiving of the US Special Forces drew cheers from Modi and the spectators.
In all, 72 military aircraft are on flying and static display, including P8-A maritime reconnaissance aircraft and KC-135 tanker of Boeing and EMB-145 Embraer fromABrazil.
In addition, 17 types of civil aircraft, including business jets and helicopters are on display for hardselling in the growing Indian aviation market.
Modi was accompanied by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh, Union Civil Aviation Minister Pasupati Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar, Union Minister for Law and Justice D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Karnataka governor Vajubjhai Vala, state Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Anup Raha.
Of the 110 countries participating in the event, the US is representing in a big way with a 64-member delegation, followed by France with 58 delegates, Britain 48, Russia 41 and Israel 25.