The 12th edition of Asia’s premier air show ‘Aero India 2019’ was inaugurated by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today, at the Yelahanka air force station in Bengaluru – with a tribute to Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi, who was killed during a rehearsal on Tuesday.

Bengaluru skies are roaring with the sonic flypasts conducted by Indian Air Force for the onset of the Asian peninsula’s premier air show ‘Aero India 2019’, a gathering of elite invitees from all around the world. The biennial international military and civil expo and air show kick started with showers of tribute to Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi; followed by the aircraft of the Suryakiran aerobatics lined up, but did not take part in the show because of the accident that happened on Tuesday.

The five-day air show will showcase India’s air defence prowess, just a week after the Pokhran air show – an act of muscle flex following the Pulwama attack under the helm of the largest aero show in Asia. Among the high-profile invitees are: three Armed Forces – Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, Admiral Sunil Lanba and General Bipin Rawat as well as ministers, global defence aerospace companies, corporate and government policymakers, military brass, entrepreneurs, delegates and exhibitors from around the world.

As many as 61 aircrafts including the Tejas, the HTT-40 (Basic Trainer Aircraft), first indigenously upgraded Hawk Mk132 – named as Hawk-i, Civil Do-228, Advanced Light Helicopter (Rudra), Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Sukhoi SU-30, Rafale, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Super Hornet and the mighty B-52 Stratofortress bomber will be on display in front of 403 exhibitors this year. The ‘Aero India 2019’ air show will go on till February 24, 2019 in Bangalore.