Aero India show's likely exit irks K'taka govt, wants Centre to clarify stand

A miffed Deputy CM G Parameshwara said under the NDA regime, the state was losing key defence projects to other states.

Bengaluru: Amid reports of the Defence Ministry planning to shift the venue of Aero India, the country's biennial air show and aviation exhibition, from Bengaluru to Lucknow, Karnataka on Saturday asked the Centre to clarify its stand on the matter.

A miffed Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara said under the NDA regime, the state was losing key defence projects to other states.

His remarks came after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday urged Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to shift the venue of Aero India as it would benefit the defence production in the state.

There are reports that the biennial event, which was last held in Bengaluru in February 2017, would now be held in October-November this year in Lucknow.

However, the Defence Ministry has not yet made any formal announcement in this regard. If this happens, it will be the first time that the event will be hosted outside Bengaluru since its inception in 1996.

The neighbouring states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, along with Chhattisgarh, will go to polls during the same time. It will also be one of the big events in the politically crucial state before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Adityanath was speaking at an event in Aligarh where an announcement of a defence corridor encompassing the Aligarh, Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow, Jhansi and Chitrakoot corridor was made.

Sitharaman, her deputy in the ministry, Subhash Bhamre, Uttar Pradesh Industries Minister Satish Mahana and senior officials of the Defence Ministry and the Uttar Pradesh government were present at the event.

"I request the defence minister to hold the Aero India show in Uttar Pradesh. We will provide every type of facility. In this context, I request her to announce this at the earliest so that we can proceed with the preparations," Adityanath said.

Reacting strongly to this, Parameshwara tweeted, "Reports of #AeroIndia being moved out of Bengaluru are very unfortunate. We have been India's Defence Hub since Independence, but under the NDA we are constantly losing key defense projects and flagship programs. I request @nsitharaman to clarify her stand on the issue."

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