President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday said Aero India 2021 is a living proof of India's ever-growing strength in the defence and aerospace sectors at the global level as curtains came down on the three-day event. He said the event will contribute significantly towards strengthening India's self-reliance in the defence sector as well as establishing India as a manufacturer for the world, and it has exhibited that the global confidence in the country's capabilities is growing steadily.
"Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, I am happy that Aero India 2021 has been organised successfully.It has been held without compromising its spirit while following the COVID-appropriate norms," Kovind said. Speaking at the valedictory function of the Aero India-2021 at Air Force Station Yelahanka, he praised the "courage and bravery" of the Indian Air Force pilots for displaying exemplary professionalism in protecting India's skies and strengthening the country's defence.
"Aero India 2021 has been an unprecedented success. I am told that high-level delegations from 43 countries and exhibitors from 530 companies have participated in the event," he said, adding that many more across the world got associated with the event virtually which is the world's first mega event of this kind to be held in the hybrid format.
Kovind, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, is the first President to attend the Aero India. Touted as the Asia's largest military aviation exhibition, Aero India in its 13th edition, also saw conclave of Defence Ministers of Indian Ocean Region on the theme of "Enhanced Peace, Security and Cooperation in the Indian Ocean" participated by IOR countries.
Also, the Chiefs of Air Staff Conclave was held with participation from more than 24 countries attending it physically and 16 virtually. "Startup Manthan", the annual event of defence startups also was held.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said despite COVID constraints across the world Aero India-2021 has been immensely successful; this is evident as more than 16,000 people attended it physically and more than 4.5 lakh virtually. The platform hosted 540 companies including 84 foreign firms from 55 nations, he said, adding, signing of 128 MoUs, 19 Transfer of Technology (ToTs), 4 Handing Overs, 18 Product Launches and 32 major announcements, totalling a grand figure of 201 feats, happened during the airshow.
Further, 45 MSMEs participating in Aero India 21 have already bagged orders worth Rs 203 crore, the defence minister said. President Kovind said "Our vision is to create a robust economy and infrastructure alongside developing competitive supply chains and integrate them globally." The reforms initiated in India in the last six years offer unprecedented opportunities to investors and private companies in the defence and aerospace sectors, he said.
"We have taken a number of policy initiatives aimed at placing India among the top nations in the defence sector with twin objectives of self-reliance and export promotion," he said, as he expressed happiness over Hindustan Aeronautics Limited getting the orders for 83 Tejas aircraft from Indian Air Force valued at more than Rs 48,000 crore. Flying display was among the key attractions during the air show.
While the indigenously developed Tejas-LCA helicopters and Surya Kiran aircraft stole the show, Sukhoi, Rafale, Hawk and the American B-1B Lancer heavy bomber grabbed attention. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited came up with 'Aatmanirbhar Formation Flight' consisting of its products such as LCA trainer (LIFT Trainer), HTT-40, IJT, Advanced Hawk Mk 132 and Civil Do-228 which flew in a special formation showcasing the spectrum of trainers and signifying self-sufficiency in the trainer segment.
There was a scintillating display of 'Dhanush' formation by the Light Combat Helicopters and 'Netra' formation showcasing the DRDO's flying display of Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C). The jaw-dropping manoeuvres by the Surya Kiran light combat aircraft left the audience spellbound.