'New India' of 21st century will neither miss any opportunity nor will there be any shortage in its hard work, Modi said
Bengaluru: With state elections drawing near, all roads lead to Karnataka for the BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, flanked by defence minister Rajnath Singh and state chief minister Basavaraj Bommai, inaugurated Asia’s biggest air show, the "Aero India 2023" at Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bengaluru .
Inaugurating the five-day event, the Prime Minister said that Aero India reflects India's new strength and aspiration. He stated that made-in-India Tejas aircraft and INS Vikrant are examples of India's potential.
"The new India of the 21st century will neither miss any opportunity nor will it lack any effort. We are gearing up. We are bringing revolution in every sector on the path of reform. The country, which was the biggest defence importer for decades, is now exporting defence equipment to 75 countries around the world," said the Prime Minister.
He said the "deafening roar" of Aero India also has the echo of India's mantra of "Reform, Perform and Transform". "Today, the kind of decisive government that India has, the kind of stable policies and the kind of clear intention in the policies are unprecedented. Every investor should take full advantage of this supportive environment created in India," he said.
"This event of Aero India also reflects the new approach of new India today. There was a time when it was considered to be just a show or just a window to 'sell to India' in a way. In the past years, this perception has also changed in the country," Mr Modi said, adding, "Today Aero India is not just a show; it is also the strength of India. Today it also focuses on the scope of the Indian defence industry and also on self-confidence."
The PM further added: "The sky of Bengaluru is witnessing the potential of new India today. The sky of Bengaluru today is testifying that new heights are the reality of new India. Today, the country is touching new heights as well as crossing them."
Mr Modi said that India's defence exports have increased sixfold in the last five years and have crossed the figure of $1.5 billion. "You also know that defence is an area in which technology, market and business are considered to be the most complicated. Despite this, India has rejuvenated its defence sector within the last 8–9 years. We consider this to be just a start," Mr Modi said.
"Our target is that by 2024-25, we will increase this export figure from $1.5 billion to $5 billion," he said.
During his eighth visit to the state, where Assembly elections will likely be held in April-May, 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 youths of Karnataka in the aviation sector and called upon them to employ their technological expertise in the field of defence to strengthen the country.
"Hosting the Aero India show is a matter of pride and it has become a practice for Karnataka to host it every year. This event has been held successfully both in the defence and aerospace industries and showcases its strength," Mr Bommai said.
Meanwhile, the Congress on Monday said that while Mr Modi has claimed credit for Aero India, the truth is that it started in 1996 and is held in Bengaluru because of the presence of organisations there tracing their origins to the Nehruvian era.
Defence Ministers of 32 countries, Air Chiefs of 29 countries and 73 CEOs of global and Indian companies are expected to attend five days of "Aero India 2023". In all 809 defence companies, including MSMEs and start-ups, are showcasing the advancement in niche technologies and the growth in aerospace and defence sector. Some 251 MoUs, worth `75,000 crores expected to be inked during this year's show.
The major companies participating in Aero India 2023 include Airbus, Boeing, Dassault Aviation, Lockheed Martin, Israel Aerospace Industry, Thales, MBDA, BrahMos Aerospace, Army Aviation, HC Robotics, SAAB, Safran, Rolls Royce, Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Forge Limited and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), among others.
The air show is expecting over 5 lakh visitors to attend the event physically and many millions more will connect through television and the internet.
Aero India 2023 is showcasing design leadership, growth in the UAV sector, defence space and futuristic technologies. The event aims to promote export of indigenous air platforms like Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, HTT-40, Dornier Light Utility Helicopter, Light Combat Helicopter and Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH). A full-scale LCA-Tejas aircraft in full operational capability configuration is at the centre stage of the India Pavilion.