AeroIndia 2009: Overwhelming response for seminar, says Gp Capt SV Ashok

This year will see the seventh roll out of the AeroIndia international air show at the Yelahanka Air Force Station, Bangalore from 9-11 February 2009. Preceding the show will be an international seminar jointly orgainsed by the DRDO and the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI). In an exclusive with domain-b, Group Captain SV Ashok (retd), secretary, and the indefatigable organiser of the seminar, highlights the work involved in organising such a prestigious show.

What was the response to the seminar in 2007, and what kind of response do you expect this year?
The response to the seminar has been very overwhelming over the years. Let me talk about 2007. The response can be measured in terms of three factors: the number of delegates who participated, the number of students who express a desire to come in and also the number of speakers who respond to our invitations. We have had as many as 70 speakers in the year 2007 and about 800 delegates and 100 student delegates.

SV Ashok, Group Captain
View video: Gp Capt SV Ashok
This year has been equally satisfying; in fact we have had a much better response because the number of delegates has already touched a figure of about 700. In the next week we expect the figure to reach 800- 900. Now coming to the student delegates again we have a whopping number of 130 student registrations already, which we expect will touch 150 by the time the event opens. In terms of speakers the response has been very good. In fact by increasing the duration of the talk, we have slightly reduced the number of presentations but not withstanding this, we have already received requests from 50 speakers to participate in the seminar. This year we will have 8 keynote speakers, 9 plenary speakers and nearly 40 other speakers taking part in the seminar.

Could you briefly speak about the effort involved in conducting the seminar?
The effort involved is in fact mammoth I must say. In fact the preparation begin almost a year in advance If we plan at getting 60 -70 speakers, we need to start with a list of around 250 - 300 speakers, awaiting from responses and planning the theme, topics, sub themes and all that. Added to all this is the administrative arrangement like booking the venue, the accommodation and the other logistics involved including transportation and the like, the event management itself is a very huge task. All this requires very meticulous planning done over several months ahead of the seminar. Added to all this is the current scenario we have in the country; the security scenario not being very conducive. Adequate security arrangements have been made of course but we have also asked security agencies to help us with the smooth conduct of the event as a whole.

Do you have any plans to expand the scope of the international seminar in any manner- if so, in what fashion? 
What we must understand is that the aerospace field itself is a very expanding field with newer platforms being added each year and with new technologies springing up everywhere. Added to this is the fact that India is itself emerging as a global player in aerospace, the technology for holding seminars is improving and there are also any number of new players coming into this field. With all this, there is bound to be greater and greater scope for expansion, inclusion of newer subjects in the seminar and greater participation by all the players.