No change in venue for now, Airshow goes on?

BENGALURU: Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday declared that no decision had been made on moving the biennial Aero India airshow out of Bengaluru while also firmly stating that every attempt at infiltration along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir from across the border would be thwarted.   "I am here as Raksha Mantri to take care of our borders to stop infiltration. I will keep doing that irrespective of what is happening there (in Pakistan). Our stand remains the same."  The minister was replying to a question on infiltration attempts after the recent elections in Pakistan.

Asked about reports that the venue of Aero India show might be shifted from Bengaluru to Lucknow, she said: "There is no announcement as yet by the ministry of defence on AeroIndia Show," but cited examples of events being held at other venues.  "People in many places have been asking for that (AeroIndia Show) in the way in which (sic) the defence expo (happened)…more than 10 editions have taken place only in Delhi. We once moved it to Goa.  This time it was moved to Tamil Nadu. There are cities asking for it. So, we have not made any announcement as yet but soon we will have an announcement," she said.

On Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s statement that external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had “buckled in front of Chinese power” on Doklam, she said, Swaraj had comprehensively answered it in Parliament, and there was no point in repeating it. She said she stood by Swaraj’s statement that the face-off over Doklam was resolved through “diplomatic maturity without losing any ground” and status quo has been maintained. Gandhi had tweeted, “Amazing how a lady like Sushmaji has buckled and prostrated in front of Chinese power. Absolute subservience to the leader means our brave jawan has been betrayed on the border.” 

CAATSA WAIVER: On India’s move to procure S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems from Russia for the Indian Air Force and if it was pending because of the US issue, she said, “Well, the update on 2+2 dialogue is that it is happening on September 6 in New Delhi.”  The dialogue is seen as a vehicle to elevate the strategic relationship between the two countries. The announcement of the ‘two-plus-two dialogue’ comes as the US Congress voted to exempt India from the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act that targets countries that trade with Iran and Russia.

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