Bengaluru, Jan 15 (IANS) The 13th edition of Aero India 2021 here on February 3-5 would be the world’s first hybrid aerospace and defence expo amid the coronavirus pandemic, an official said on Friday.
“The three-day air show will be the world’s first hybrid exhibition where the business activity will be physical and virtual, while the static and flying display of the military and civil aircraft will be at the venue,” a defence official told IANS here.
The biennial event will be held at the Yellahanka air base of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on the city’s northern outskirts for three days instead of five days in the past due to Covid-induced restrictions on large gathering of people in public places to contain the virus spread.
Till date, 576 Indian and overseas exhibitors and 35 foreign delegations have registered for the event.
At a review meeting of the preparation for the event with the Karnataka government, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh stressed on the safe conduct of the largest aerospace event in South Asia.
“The hybrid model of Aero India should be a template for other countries to emulate in conducting the business in the new normal amid the pandemic,” Singh said at the meeting where state Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and officials of the state government and defence ministry participated.
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, Defence Production secretary Raj Kumar and AoC-in-Chief of Southern Command Air Marshal R.K. Mathur were present in the review meeting at the state secretariat in the city centre.
The stalls at the expo will be in physical and virtual worlds for greater engagement between exhibitors and delegates and other stakeholders.
Attendees joining the event virtually can participate in seminars, interact with exhibitors, hold B2B meetings and view their products and technologies.
The theme of the event is “Runway to a Billion Opportunities”, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India even in the aerospace sector.
Singh also launched ‘Aero India-21’ mobile application (app) on the occasion where an agreement was signed between the central and state governments to conduct the mega event jointly.
“The indigenous technological and logistic prowess will be at the fore and the event will embolden our aerospace and defence industry, start-ups and MSMEs to forge partnerships with overseas manufacturers,” said Singh.
The exhibition area at the venue has been reduced to 15,000 square feet and air display visual area to 3,000 square feet in accordance with the guidelines and standard operating procedures stated by the Union Home Ministry.
“Wearing of face mask, maintain physical distancing, and non-contact interactions will be mandatory,” said the official.
Brochures and literature will be mostly in digital format, while registration and booth visits will be contactless.
“Negative RT-PCR test 72 hours prior to February 3 and entry screening at the venue will be mandatory,” added the official.