Wary of the Covid-19 pandemic, the global defence industry has responded in a lukewarm manner to next month’s Aero India, the country’s biennial air show, with even top executives of registered exhibitors expected to stay away while key players such as the Swedish firm, Saab, have decided to give it a miss, ThePrint has learnt.
The Aero India website shows only 75 foreign companies have booked their spots for the event, which is to be held between 3-5 February at the Air Force Station, Yelahanka, Bengaluru. This is much less than the over 200 foreign players who were present in the 2019 edition of the event.
The 75 foreign bookings include seven by the US-based Lockheed Martin and its associate firms, even as many foreign players, including some of the Russians, have still to make up their mind on whether to come or not.
Among the Indian entities, there are a total of 457 bookings. This includes about 61 by the Directorate General of Quality Assurance and its associated concerns, 21 by state-owned Bharat Electronics Limited and its subsidiaries, besides several by DRDO labs and other state-owned enterprises.
Industry sources told ThePrint that even though several foreign companies are registered, many would only be represented by their top management in India.
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