New Delhi, Feb 9: With India emerging as one of the biggest defence market, over 300 foreign firms along with 54 ministerial and other high-level delegations from several countries will be taking part in the 'Aero India' show later this month.
With the theme "Make in India", the 10th international edition of the aerospace and aviation exhibition to be held at Bengaluru from February 18 to 22 will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
It will also include sectors like defence manufacturing and airport infrastructure besides aerospace, defence and civil aviation.
Describing the biennial event as one of the largest premium air shows in Asia, Secretary (Defence Production) G Mohan Kumar outlined the impetus of the "Make in India" initiative.
"We want to set 'Make in India' as the major theme of the exhibition and see 'Make in India' progress in the defence sector also," Kumar said at a curtain raiser press conference for mega event here today.
Besides 54 ministerial and other high-level delegations from several countries that are slated to attend the inaugural event, the exhibition will also see participation by over 600 companies, including 295 Indian and 328 foreign companies, he said addressing reporters.
With 64 companies, USA is the leading participant in the exhibition among the 33 other countries participating. Behind them is France with 58 companies, UK with 48, Russia with 41, Israel with 25 and Germany with 17 companies.
French Defence giant Dassault, whose Rafale fighter plane has been selected for procurement under a multi-billion dollar deal of 126 aircraft, will also be participating in the event.
It will fly three Rafale jets at the show. Negotiations over contract finalisation are facing trouble and both the countries are working to resolve the matter. Finmeccanica, which is embroiled in the VVIP chopper scam, will also participate.
The exhibition, which first began in 1996, will also see around 300 CEOs from Indian and foreign industries attending the event. Business-to-business and round-table meetings of Indian companies with those of Israel, UK and Poland will also be held at the event.
For the first time, the exhibition will witness participation by a few states who want to be partners in defence production and are keen to set up defence-related industry and SEZz. Kumar said Karnataka, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh have confirmed the participation and they are making policies to attract defence companies to them.
Giving statistics, officials said that 266 Indian companies are participating as compared to 156 last edition while 328 foreign companies are in for this year as compared to 210 last year. A "Make in India" Defence Manufacturing Investors Summit and Global CEOs Conference, to be chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, is also being held for the first time during the air show.
Speakers from Indian defence industries including TATA, Mahindra, L&T, Adani, Bharat Forge along with others will share their vision on defence manufacturing in India.
Even as the number of business visitors is expected to rise by nearly 50 per cent from the last edition to 1,50,000 this year, the air show is invariably a huge attraction for aviation aficionados who throng to the event to witness the static and air display by various aircraft including fighter, transport, helicopter and aerobatic display teams.
While the number of aircraft participating in static and air displays is tentatively 72, Indian Air Force Sarang Team and air display teams from Sweden, UK, Czech Republic and open sky jump by USA Special Forces are among the major attractions at Aero India-2015.
Among the foreign military aircraft that will be seen at the airshow include F-15C Eagle, Lockheed F-16C, Boeing KC-135, Boeing C-17 A Globemaster III, Boeing P-8A Posedon, Rafale Dassault and Emb-145 I, officials said.
They said official delegations have been invited from 109 countries. Recommendations have been received from 75 countries and confirmation has been received from 25 countries and the process is on, they said.
In total 54 delegates comprising of Minister of Defence from Beharin, Israel, Italy, Czech Republic, France, Egypt Portugal, Sudan and Tanzania have confirmed. Chiefs from Brunei, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Seychelles, Tanzania, UK have confirmed.
Secretary level from Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Jordon, Malaysia, Nepal, South Africa, US have confirmed, they said.