Thursday, June 13, 2024

Defence Start-Ups Critical To Strategic Sector Growth

By Aritra Banerjee

The Start-Up Manthan at Aero India 2023 held today saw the Indian Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh, hail start-ups as crucial to India’s progress. The minister spoke of start-ups’ energy, commitment, and enthusiasm, which he argued were essential in helping India adopt new technological architecture. The minister applauded the Indian start-up industry’s growth across all sectors, with over 100 unicorns and nearly one lakh start-ups. He said these figures indicated the youth’s drive to innovate and enthusiasm.

At the event, the Defence Minister launched the ninth edition of Defence India Startup Challenges (DISC 9) on ‘Cybersecurity with 28 problem statements and the iDEX Investor Hub (iIH). Investors have already pledged over Rs 200 crores under the iIH, which aims to accelerate investment in the defence sector and provide investors with a unified view of opportunities and innovations.

Rajnath Singh praised the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) initiative, which has allowed talent from all over India to showcase their abilities. This initiative has provided a platform for innovators to come forward and helped generate direct and indirect employment for skilled and semi-skilled workers.

The minister emphasised the Indian government’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs by facilitating technology development through policy interventions, introducing various grants, and simplifying the procurement process for start-ups and MSMEs.

The Minister of Defence called for redefining the competition for development and moving away from obsolete technologies and systems of production. He urged innovators to create and develop new technologies to usher in the next generation’s industrial revolution.

In addition to DISC 9, the Defence Minister released the Indian Army’s compendium of 110 problem statements, which highlighted the army’s technological challenges and requirements in various domains, ranging from Armament, Surveillance and Fire Control Systems (FCS) to niche domains such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Metaverse, Robotics, Quantum Technology, Cyber, Smartisation of Ammunition, and more.

The Defence Minister praised the Start-Up Manthan as a festival of the Indian Defence start-up ecosystem and an indicator of iDEX’s success. He expressed confidence that India would emerge as a lighthouse for the world in innovation.

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