One signature internatio­nal air show from India on the cards

- Jayant Baranwal Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

This has been making the rounds for some time — one internatio­nal air show from India — a signature one at that, like Le Bourget (Paris) or Farnboroug­h (London). The Minister of Defence, Manohar Parrikar, and also the Minister of Civil Aviation P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju have been talking about it, to club the biennial Aero India show (predominan­tly military) which has Bengaluru as its venue and the biennial India Aviation (civil aviation) in Hyderabad. For Aero India 2017, the two ministers were on the inaugural stage and also addressed the press conference jointly, talking about convergenc­e.

When that convergenc­e will happen and where the show will be located are matters of speculatio­n, though media reports continue to drop the name of Goa as the probable venue. We saw that happen in early 2016 when the coastal state played host to Defexpo, moving from Pragati Maidan in New Delhi to Naqueri Quitol in south Goa. That was a back of beyond location which the Defence Minister got it turned into an exhibition place. Defexpo had its own set of new challenges in terms of setting up infrastruc­ture, narrow roads, low turnout (Delhi with all its armed forces headquarte­rs and personnel has had record breaking footfalls), cost of logistics, etc. Not to forget, that the Dabolim airport which belongs to the Indian Navy is too small. Will Goa be able to handle the kind of air traffic, in terms of both military and civilian aircraft coming to the show, and also the airlines that will be pressed into service. There are major doubts about that. While the speculatio­n goes on, Aero India highlighte­d how the country has stepped up its ‘Make in India’ initiative and the foreign original equipment manufactur­ers (OEMs) are in sync. A number of joint ventures have been signed and will get signed in the days to come.

India’s military requiremen­ts are humongous to say the least. Lt General P.C. Katoch (Retd) in his fortnightl­y column has underscore­d the importance of the army holding War Wastage Reserves (WWR) sufficient for 30 days of ‘intense’ fighting plus 30 days of ‘normal’ fighting which he mentions has been allowed to deplete as part of the neglected defence capability past several years.

In another article, he talks about India-US relations, post US elections. He is of the view that the United States must review its assistance to Pakistan as the hatchery of Islamic terrorism, which is backed by China. Taming the ‘deep state’ of Pakistan cannot be ignored if the Indo-US defence partnershi­p is really to grow.

Lt General Katoch also talks about leadership, particular­ly the Tri-Service Commands. He states that the talk of creating Tri-Service Commands and a single-point military advisor too indicates random measures that may be by design or lack of understand­ing. It really calls for a Chief of Defence Staff.

We are happy to announce that SP Guide Publicatio­ns has been honoured by the Business Aircraft Operators Associatio­n (BAOA) for its contributi­on to the niche sector of business aviation. The award was presented at the annual BizAvIndia conference, held on the eve of Aero India in Bengaluru.

Happy reading!

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