Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the 14th edition of Asia’s biggest aero show – Aero India 2023 – at Air Force Station, Yelahanka in Bengaluru on February 13, 2023. A commemorative stamp was also released by the Prime Minister on the occasion. The five-day event, on the theme ‘The runway to a billion opportunities’, will showcase India’s growth in aerospace and defence capabilities. It will display indigenous equipment/technologies and forge partnerships with foreign companies, in line with ‘Make in India, Make for the World’ vision for a secure and prosperous future.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said that Bengaluru sky is bearing testimony to the capabilities of New India. “This new height is the reality of New India, today India is touching new heights and transcending them too”, the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister said that Aero India 2023 is a shining example of India’s growing capabilities and the presence of around 100 nations at this event shows the trust that the entire world shows in India. He noted the participation of more than 800 exhibitors including Indian MSMEs and startups along with the well-renowned companies of the world. Throwing light on the theme of Aero India 2023 ‘The Runway to a Billion Opportunities’, the Prime Minister expressed that the strength of Aatmanirbhar Bharat keeps on growing with each passing day.
Referring to the Defence Minister’s Conclave and CEOs Round Table that is being organised along with the show, Shri Modi said that active participation in the sector will enhance the potential of Aero India.
The Prime Minister underscored the importance of Aero India taking place in Karnataka which is the hub of India’s technological advancement. He said that this will open new avenues for the youth of Karnataka in the aviation sector. The Prime Minister called upon the youth of Karnataka to deploy their technological expertise in the field of defence to strengthen the country.
“When the country moves forward with new thinking, new approach, then its systems also start changing according to the new thinking”, the Prime Minister said as he highlighted that Aero India 2023 reflects the changing approach of New India. The Prime Minister recalled when Aero India used to be ‘just a show’ and a window to ‘sell to India’ but the perception has changed now. “Today, Aero India is India’s strength and not just a show”, the Prime Minister said as he stated that it not only showcases the scope of the defence industry but also showcases the self-confidence of India”.
The Prime Minister said that India’s successes are bearing witness to its capabilities. Tejas, INS Vikrant, advanced manufacturing facilities in Surat and Tumkur, said the Prime Minister, are the potential of Aatmanirbhar Bharat with which the world’s new alternatives and opportunities are linked.
“The new India of the 21st century will neither miss any opportunity nor will it lack any effort”, the Prime Minister said as he noted the revolution brought in every sector with the help of reforms. He underlined that the nation which used to be the largest defence exporter for decades has now started exporting defence equipment to 75 countries in the world.
Referring to the transformation of the defence sector in the last 8-9 years, the Prime Minister said that the aim is to take defence exports from 1.5 billion to 5 billion by 2024-25. “From here India will take rapid strides to be included among the largest defence manufacturing countries and our private sector and investors will play a big role in that”, the Prime Minister said. The Prime Minister called upon the private sector to invest in the defence sector which will create new opportunities for them in India and in many other countries.
“The India of today thinks fast, thinks far and takes quick decisions”, Shri Modi said as he drew the analogy of India in Amrit Kaal to a fighter jet pilot. The Prime Minister said that India is a nation which is not afraid but excited to soar to new heights. India is always rooted however high it flies howsoever is its speed, the Prime Minister stressed.
“Aero India’s deafening roar echoes India’s message of Reform, Perform and Transform”, the Prime Minister remarked. He mentioned that the entire world is taking note of the reforms made for ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in India and touched upon the various steps taken to create an environment that favours global investments as well as Indian innovation. He touched upon the reforms made in Foreign Direct Investments in defence and other sectors and the simplification of processes for issuing licenses to industries while also increasing their validity. The Prime Minister said that in this year’s Budget, tax benefits for manufacturing units have been enhanced.
The Prime Minister said where there is demand, expertise as well experience, Industry growth is natural. He assured the gathering that efforts to strengthen the sector will keep going forward even stronger.
In his address, the Raksha Mantri lauded Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for guiding India on the political and economic map of the world and made special mention of his unwavering commitment towards the industrial and economic growth of the country. He described Aero India as an expression of that resolve.
Shri Rajnath Singh asserted that India has become a promising manufacturing destination due to its business-friendly environment and cost-competitiveness. “India has become the fifth largest economy in the world due to the vision and determination of our Prime Minister. It is well on course to become the third largest economy in the next 4-5 years. India’s G-20 presidency this year is also a reflection of India’s growing stature on the international platforms,” he said.
The Raksha Mantri also shed light on the growth story of the Indian defence sector, saying that it has come a long way in the last few years and is marching ahead on the path of empowering the nation with full zeal and dedication. He termed Aero India as one of the pillars which has strengthened the defence sector and has given it a new identity.
Shri Rajnath Singh welcomed the Defence Ministers, Service Chiefs, CEOs, officials and delegates from many countries participating in this 14th edition of Aero India. He appreciated the fact that over 800 exhibitors from India and abroad will present showcase their products & technologies during the five-day event. He termed the huge participation as a testimony to a new confidence of the domestic and global business community in India’s emerging business potential. He called upon the participants to become a part of India’s journey towards becoming a defence manufacturing hub.
The Raksha Mantri also commended Karnataka Chief Minister Shri Basavaraj Bommai for organising the event on a grand scale. He described Karnataka as a pioneer in industrialisation and one of the most prominent states contributing to India’s economic growth.
Governor of Karnataka Shri Thawar Chand Gehlot, Chief Minister of Karnataka Shri Basvaraj Bommai, Union Minister for Civil Aviation Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia and Raksha Rajya Mantri Shri Ajay Bhatt were among those present on the occasion.
About the event
The five-day event will conclude on 17th February. The February 13th to 15th will be business days, while 16th & 17th have been set as public days to allow people to witness the show. The event comprises a Defence Ministers’ Conclave; a CEOs Round Table; Manthan start-up event; Bandhan ceremony; breath-taking air shows; a large exhibition; India Pavilion and a trade fair of aerospace companies.
Organised at Air Force Station, Yelahanka in a total area of around 35,000 sqm, the event, the biggest-ever till date, is likely to witness the participation of 98 countries. The Defence Ministers of 32 countries, Air Chiefs of 29 countries and 73 CEOs of global and Indian OEMs are expected to attend the event. Eight hundred and nine (809) defence companies, including MSMEs and start-ups, will showcase the advancement in niche technologies and the growth in aerospace and defence sector.
Major exhibitors & equipment
The major exhibitors include Airbus, Boeing, Dassault Aviation, Lockheed Martin, Israel Aerospace Industry, BrahMos Aerospace, Army Aviation, HC Robotics, SAAB, Safran, Rolls Royce, Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Forge Limited, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) and BEML Limited. About five lakh visitors are expected to attend the event physically and many millions more will connect through Television and internet.
Aero India 2023 will showcase design leadership, growth in UAVs Sector, Defence Space and futuristic technologies. The event aims to promote export of indigenous air platforms like Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Tejas, HTT-40, Dornier Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) and Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH). It will integrate domestic MSMEs and start-ups in global supply chain and attract foreign investments including the partnerships for co-development and co-production.
Defence Ministers’ Conclave
The Raksha Mantri will host Defence Ministers’ Conclave on 14th February. Defence Ministers of friendly foreign countries will participate in the meeting, which has been organised on the theme ‘Shared Prosperity through Enhanced Engagements in Defence (SPEED). The conclave would address aspects related to deepen cooperation for capacity building (through investments, R&D, joint venture, co-development, co-production and provisioning of defence equipment), training, space, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and maritime security to grow together. The conclave is an opportunity for the defence ministers to engage with each other to carry forward the ‘Make in India, Make for the World’ vision.
On the sidelines of Aero India 2023, a number of bilateral meetings will be held at the levels of Raksha Mantri, Raksha Rajya Mantri, Chief of Defence Staff and Defence Secretary among others. The focus will be on bolstering the defence & aerospace ties with friendly countries by exploring newer avenues to take the partnership to the next level.
CEOs Round Table
The ‘CEOs Round Table’, under the chairmanship of the Raksha Mantri, will be held on 13th February on the theme ‘Sky is not the limit: opportunities beyond boundaries’. It is expected to lay the foundation of a more robust interaction between the Industry Partners and Government with an eye on bolstering the ‘Make in India’ campaign. It is further expected to increase ‘Ease of doing business’ in India and provide a favourable platform to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) for manufacturing in India.
The Round Table will witness participation from officials, delegates and global CEOs from 26 countries including global investors such as Boeing, Lockheed, Israel Aerospace Industries, General Atomics, Liebherr Group, Raytheon Technologies, Safran, General Authority of Military Industries (GAMI) etc. Domestic PSUs like HAL, BEL, BDL, BEML Limited and Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited will also participate. Premier private Defence and Aerospace manufacturing companies from India such as Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Forge, Dynamatic Technologies, BrahMos Aerospace are also likely to be part of the event.
The Bandhan ceremony, which witnesses signing of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs)/Agreements, Transfer of Technologies, Product Launches and other major announcements, will be held on February 15th. The Raksha Mantri will preside over the event. Two hundred and fifty one (251) MoUs, with an expected investment of Rs 75,000 crore, are likely to be signed for partnerships between various Indian/foreign defence companies and organisations.
The annual defence innovation event, Manthan, will be the flagship technology showcase event to be held on 15th February. Being organised by Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), the Manthan platform will bring the leading innovators, start-ups, MSMEs, incubators, academia and Investors from defence & aerospace ecosystem under one roof. The Raksha Mantri will preside over the event.
Manthan will have many firsts, including launch of challenges on Cyber Security, establishment of iDEX Investor Hub, MoUs with investors etc. Manthan 2023 will provide an overview on the future vision/next initiatives of iDEX to galvanise the start-up ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in the defence sector.
The ‘India Pavilion’, based on the ‘Fixed Wing Platform’ theme, will showcase India’s growth in the area, including the future prospects. There will be a total of 115 companies, displaying 227 products. It will further showcase the growth of India in developing an ecosystem for Fixed Wing platform which includes the demonstration of various structural modules, simulators, systems (LRUs) etc. of LCA-Tejas aircraft being produced by Private Partners. There will also be a section for Defence space, New Technologies and a UAV section which will give an insight about the growth of India in each sector.
A full scale LCA-Tejas aircraft in Full Operational Capability (FOC) configuration will be at the centre stage of India Pavilion. LCA Tejas is a single engine, light weight, highly agile, multi-role supersonic fighter. It has quadruplex digital fly-by-wire Flight Control System (FCS) with associated advanced flight control laws. The aircraft with delta wing is designed for ‘air combat’ and ‘offensive air support’ with ‘reconnaissance’ and ‘anti-ship’ as its secondary roles. Extensive use of advanced composites in the airframe gives a high strength to weight ratio, long fatigue life and low radar signatures.
Aero India 2023 will have a separate Karnataka Pavilion which will showcase to the participants the opportunities available in the state.
A number of seminars will be held during the five-day event. The themes include ‘Harnessing Potential of Ex-servicemen for Indian Defence Industry; India’s Defence Space Initiative: Opportunities for shaping Indian private space ecosystem; Indigenous development of futuristic aerospace technologies, including aero engines; Destination Karnataka: US-India defence cooperation innovation and Make in India; Advancement in maritime surveillance equipment and assets; sustenance in MRO and Obsolescence Mitigation and achieving excellence in defence grade drones and Aatmanirbharta in Aero Armament Sustenance.