Bengaluru: With Make in India as its focus, and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar wooing global aerospace firms to make their products in India, Aero India 2017 kicked off here on Tuesday, with a flypast of the indigenous-built LCA Tejas, Light Combat Helicopter, and first ever public display of the Light Utility Helicopter.
Parrikar, in his inaugural address, invited aerospace firms to make their products in India, which had opened up the defence sector for foreign direct investment, partnerships, collaborations and joint ventures.
"We have an ecosystem for defence manufacturing, with ease of doing business for global firms, a liberalised investment policy and norms to set up production units, joint ventures and research facilities across the country," he said as he inaugurated the 11th edition of the five-day biennial expo here.
Asked if new US President Donald Trump's 'America First' may have any affect on the 'Make in India' and stop US firms from participating in the programme, Parrikar said it was not his concern.
"You should have put this question to Boeing, they are there at the exhibition... Boeing, Lockheed Martin, etc."What I will say is what I want... I want you to Make in India. If someone wants to shift production to some other place, it is his choice. I am not concerned," Parrikar said at a press conference on the sidelines of "Aero India 2017".
This edition of Aero India, for the first time, combined the defence and civil aviation segments into a holistic event with the co-involvement of the Defence and Civil Aviation Ministries in the event.Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajpathi Raju was also present at the inaugural event.
Raju, speaking at the occasion, highlighted that India was the fastest growing aviation sector in passenger terms in the world and held tremendous potential to graduate from the present position of being ninth in the world to being the third largest by 2022.
Among the highlights on the opening day was handing over of the Indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) christened 'Netra' to the Indian Air Force, making India the fourth nation to have developed the technology on its own, after US, Russia and Israel.
Parrikar also unveiled the full scale mock-up of Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) Pavilion.A colourful flypast showcased India's increasing capability in manufacturing aircraft, with first ever public display of Light Utility Helicopter LUH.
The Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) meanwhile left the spectators enthralled, with its manoeuvres, taking a steep rise, and even flying backwards.India is one of the few countries to have developed a combat helicopter.The air Show witnessed a fly past by the Make in India formation consisting of HTT-40, Hawk-i, Dornier-228, Su-30MKI and the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft.
This was followed by the fighters tearing through the skies displaying a host of aerobatic manoeuvres - the Su 30 MKIA followed by Sweden's SAAB Gripen, Tejas LCA, the American F-16 Falcon and the French Rafale.The Yakovlev aerobatic team, the Skycats, the Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team and the Sarang helicopter display team also presented a scintillating performance.