Aeroshow stays in Bengaluru, government confirms (Third Lead)

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New Delhi/Bengaluru : The Union government on Saturday declared that the next edition of Aero India will be held in Bengaluru from February 20-24 next year, putting to rest speculation about the venue and date of the trade and defence biennial event.

"The government has decided to hold Aero India 2019 in Bengaluru from February 20-24, 2019," the Defence Ministry said in a statement in New Delhi.

The 12th edition of the five-day biennial event will be held at the Yelahanka base of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Bengaluru's northern outskirts.

"The trade event will showcase technologies and products of global and Indian aerospace and defence firms, with static and flying display of military and civil aircraft, including fighters, jets, helicopters and air weapons.

The announcement comes amid speculation that the government has decided to shift the show to Lucknow where a huge defence corridor linking Agra, Aligarh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Jhansi and Chitrakoot in the Bundelkhand region is being built at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath too had urged Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to hold the event ahead of next year's Lok Sabha elections in the state that sends the maximum 80 members to Parliament's Lower House.

It was also speculated that the government had decided to advance the show to be held later this year.

Sitharaman had earlier made it clear that no announcement had been made even as "people in many places are asking for (the show to be held in their states)."

The Ministry had also received requests from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha and Tamil Nadu to host the next show in their respective states. But all those apprehensions have been dispelled.

The trade event will host global leaders, investors in the aerospace industry and think tanks from the world over, providing an opportunity to exchange information, ideas and developments in the industry, the statement said.

"The air show will also give a fillip to the domestic aviation and further the cause of 'Make in India'. The defence production department is committed to ensure a result-oriented air show," the statement added.

The Karnataka government welcomed the ministry's decision to hold the air show in Bengaluru only.

"It's a great relief that the air show is not moving out of the city, which is also the country's aerospace hub. We thank the Defence Ministry for the right decision," a senior official in the Chief Minister's Office told IANS in Bengaluru.

In a tweet later, state Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy said the central government confirmed that AeroIndia 2019 would be held in Bengaluru.

"There was a concern regarding speculation that the biennial air show could be moved out of Bengaluru. I thank the @DefenceMinIndia for continuing the prestigious show in Bengaluru," tweeted Kumaraswamy.

State Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara welcomed the ministry's decision to continue the event in "namma" (our) Bengaluru.

"We shall extend our full cooperation to make the event a grand success, as we have been doing since 1996," tweeted Parameshwara, who is also the city's development minister.

In the 11th edition, held from February 14 to 18, 2017, 549 firms -- both global and Indian -- from 51 countries participated.