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600 companies coming to Bangalore for Aero India

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Secretary (defence production) Pradeep Kumar (L) addressing a press conference on Monday in New Delhi on the forthcoming Aero India 2009 in Bangalore. DPR photo

NEW DELHI (BNS): The southern city of Bangalore is the focus of attention of the global aviation industry. Despite the economic recession, the industry is expected to turn up in full strength at Aero India 2009, beginning February 11.

Ahead of the show, India has sent a positive message claiming that it would continue to go for modernisation of armed forces despite economic slowdown. This means there would be enough funds for new acquisition.

Nearly 600 companies have already registered for Aero India, which has become the biggest air show in this part of the world. There has been no cancellation despite security threats after 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

Secretary (defence production) Pradeep Kumar, who is the chief organiser of the air show, claimed that the country's military programme would continue as before dispelling any doubts despite economic turmoil.

Perhaps this is the reason that the world's aviation companies will turn up in large numbers at Bangalore making Aero India one of the biggest air shows in this part of the world. This is the 7th show and by far the biggest.

All the usual dominant aviation players will be there as usual but some new grounds have been broken. For the first time China, which has stayed away from previous air shows, has decided to send a 10-member delegation. However, there will not be any Chinese aircraft. China has been making rapid stride in aviation and is even producing its own aircraft specifically targeted for the third world markets.

In military aviation, China is reluctant to open up with India as it has a strategic alliance with Pakistan. It is a different matter that both India and China's military aviation is based on the Russian platform.

One of the obvious attentions during Aero India, starting next week, would be on fighter jets. The process of acquisition of 126 multi role combat fighters for the Indian Air Force has reached a decisive stage.

Those in the fray are going to display their combat jets at the air show. For the first time, India will have a close look at Eurofighter Typhoon. The US will be there with F-16s and F-18s and Russian MiG-35 will also arrive for a static and flying display along with indigenous Light Combat Aircraft.

A total of 592 companies have registered for the show out of which 303 are foreign. The maximum number of companies will be from Germany and France (31 each) followed by UK, Russia, US, Italy, Belgium, Israel and Australia. The US with 22 companies will occupy the largest space at the show.

There will be a lot of flying activities over Bangalore's air space during the show and organisers were satisfied that there have been no cancellations despite 26/11. The security has been tightened at the show but there is no specific threat, said officials.

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