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Aero India to be held at Bengaluru in February 2023

Ministry of Defence announces dates for the 14th edition of India’s biggest air show, allows foreign OEMs as exhibitors

Photo Credit : Aero India, Defence Exhibition Organisation,

The biennial Aero India is touted as Asia’s biggest airshow

The 14th edition of Aero India, India’s biggest airshow, will be held on schedule at its traditional location, Bengaluru’s Yelahanka airbase from February 13 to 17, India’s Ministry of Defence announced on November 27. 

The seven-month delay in organizing Defexpo 2022 - India’s premier military trade show for land, naval and homeland security systems - had posed a dilemma on organizing a second major Aerospace and Defence trade show in India in a space of four months.

But the Ministry of Defence – the organizer of both Defexpo and Aero India, has decided to stick to the traditional Aero India schedule, as it did not want to vacate its space in the global air show calendar and create uncertainty about its scheduling. Aero India is being held in February at Bengaluru – the capital of India’s Aerospace and Defence Industry – since 1996. 

The announcement on the Aero India website, aeroindia.gov.in, also gave an indication that the show would be open to foreign exhibitors. Defexpo 2022, organized at Gandhinagar in October, allowed only Indian companies or Indian subsidiaries of foreign companies to participate as exhibitors to emphasise its procurement policy which now actively discourages import of military equipment. Most procurement categories under the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2023 are open only to Indian entities. 

The Aero India website’s space for the tally count of participants has made a provision for both foreign exhibitors and participating countries. Foreign country pavilions were not allowed at Defexpo 2022. 

The reversal of decisions on disallowing foreign OEMs and country pavilions has been taken after taking feedback from Industry, sources indicated. The effort in reverting to the old format is to ensure good international participation. 

The announcement on Aero India 2023 also ended speculation about the location. Defexpo - Aero India’s sister show – is being rotated around the country since 2016. The Government also seriously mulled shifting Aero India to another location ahead of the 13th edition in 2021. Reports had indicated that the Bakshi ka Talab airbase on the outskirts of Lucknow was under consideration as the venue. But it’s now clear that Aero India will stay at Bengaluru.

Both Aero India and Defexpo are premier global trade shows which provide an opportunity for the international arms industry to congregate in India, showcase their products, technologies and solutions to the Indian military and decision makers and also to engage with India’s emerging Aerospace and Defence industry. But with the changes in Defence procurement policy, the Indian companies have a dominating presence at these shows. The roll-back of the decision to disallow foreign OEMs as exhibitors is to convey the signal that there’s space for them in India’s arms bazaar. 



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