The overwhelming sentiment at the 12th edition of Aero India, currently underway at Bengaluru is of an airshow that has lost its spark.
As compared to the previous edition of the show, exhibitors have drastically pared down their participation in terms of stall sizes and aircraft on display.
The overall size of orders announced at the show can be considered as miniscule, when compares the size of the Indian market and hardly any deal of significance has been announced at the show till date.
India’s long winded procurement system has meant that deals that ought to have been inked years ago, remain unresolved, forcing Indian and foreign firms to revaluate their plans for participating in Indian defence tenders. This has further impacted show participation.
Aero India is also evidence of the fact, that the much touted ‘Make in India’ initiative has lost its steam, with Indian firms struggling to remain in the defence business due to lack of orders or excessive delays.
Despite it being the 12th edition of Aero India and steep fees charged for exhibitors, the show facilities remain sub-par with long queues, entry of the general public from Day 1 itself, traffic congestion, poor toilet facilities, etc.
Aero India needs an overhaul, else, despite the size of the Indian market, the air show could fade into irrelevance as a regional show and not an international one.