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China to take part in Aero India 2009

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File photo of the Suryakiran aerobatics demonstration team of the Indian Air Force in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province on Oct 31, 2008 for the China Int'l Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition. Image

NEW DELHI (BNS): The Aero India to be held in Bangalore from February 11 is the seventh edition. It has grown in size in all these years inviting participation from all the major global aviation players. But one most notable absentee from the show has been China. But the ice has been broken this time when China decided to send a 10-member delegation.

This is the first time when a Chinese team would participate in the show signaling a new beginning between Sino-Indian military ties. China had stayed away as the previous shows were essentially about military aviation.

The policy has changed this time as the armed forces of the two countries have come together and have been holding joint exercises. China has a strategic partnership with Pakistan and the two have shared technologies and even jointly develop a fighter jet. China is here but Pakistan is still out.

The Indian officials claimed that the participation of Chinese delegation, led by deputy chief of air force, at the show is a positive aspect and it would open doors for further cooperation. Aero India has been held in Bangalore every alternate year since 1996.

China is not bringing any aircraft or setting up a stall at the show but the delegation would take part in the deliberations and other activities. The Chinese aviation sector is growing rapidly. China is keen to market its locally developed regional aircraft in the third world countries.

India and China might not have a regular contact but their air forces depend on the same vendor Russia. China's military aviation is almost entirely based and powered by the Russian products. Through reverse engineering and innovations, China has built a credible aviation industry and has even made Pakistan as a partner.

China's aviation exports even grew in 2008 despite meltdown. It banks on the cost effectiveness of its planes which are much cheaper than those offered by western manufacturers. It is particularly targeting developing countries in Asia and Africa for the sales of its aircraft.

China had held its own air show last year in which 102 deals were signed. The Chinese air show had a mixed civil and military component. For the first time, India was also invited for the show and the IAF team of Suryakirans had taken part in it.

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