Following the controversy over a proposed move to shift the venue of the biennial Aero India show, the Ministry of Defence confirmed on Saturday that the mega airshow will be held in its traditional venue of Bengaluru in Karnataka.

“The Government has decided to hold the Aero India 2019 in Bengaluru from 20 to 24 February 2019,” the MoD said in a statement.

The Defence Ministry’s decision thus ends uncertainty over the venue of the 12th edition of Aero India. It was speculated that the venue may be shifted out of Karnataka especially after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath made a request to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in August to select Lucknow as the venue for the mega event.

Besides Uttar Pradesh, the Defence Ministry had indicated that it was examining requests from a number of states including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha and Tamil Nadu.

Political leaders in Karnataka had protested against any move to shift the Aero India out of the state.

Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka G Parameshwara called the “plan” unfortunate and alleged that the Centre was trying to end Bengaluru’s dominance in the defence sector.

“Plan to snatch Aero India Show away from Bengaluru in favour of Lucknow is very unfortunate. We have been conducting it successfully since 1996. This comes after HAL was snubbed for Rafael deal. Centre seems to be keen on ending Bengaluru’s dominance in the defence sector,” he said on Twitter on 3 August.

 

After Adityanath’s argument that bringing the Aero India to Lucknow will give a fillip to the proposed defence corridor in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi arguing in favour of Bengaluru.

“Bengaluru being the hub for defence and aviation majors of the country is certainly the most suitable place to conduct the show,” he had said in the letter.

Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry said that the five-day event will combine a major trade exhibition for the aerospace and defence industries with public air shows.

“Besides global leaders and big investors in aerospace industry, the show will also see participation by think-tanks from across the world,” the government said.

Stating that the Aero India will provide a unique opportunity for exchange of information, ideas and new developments in the aviation industry, the government said that it will give a “fillip to the domestic aviation industry it would further the cause of Make in India”.