Monday, August 20, 2018

Moving Aero India 2019 from Bengaluru to UP will damage India's hopes of becoming Asia's manufacturing hub

The assertive and bold decision by the present Indian political dispensation in 2015 and 2016, to tactically unshackle the army, was unprecedented in recent times. It resulted in the army executing successful surgical strikes on key terrorist infrastructure across the international borders, both against Indian Insurgent Groups in the North East and terrorists supported by the Pakistani State waging a 'proxy war' in Jammu and Kashmir. Thereafter, the visibility accorded to the events were undoubtedly a masterstroke in 'signalling' that India will not hesitate to adopt kinetic options, if its 'red lines' are crossed. The resultant positive emotional surge and favourable national sentiment that it generated in the country, was also beyond expectation. The collateral fallout was 'defence issues' becoming part of political gamesmanship, in the national narrative.

It is in this context that the forthcoming 12th biennial 'Aero India 2019', scheduled to be held in Bengaluru, has been mired in controversy. This was sparked by the request of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath to host the event, with the intent of giving a fillip to the proposed 'UP defence corridor'. The placid statements of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and other officials have added proverbial fuel to the fire. This would have been a 'no-brainer' if the Ministry of Defence had been timely and not ambivalent in confirming the much awaited dates and venue for the forthcoming air show.
20/08/18 Arun Sahni/First Post