By Staff Correspondent
The Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) took centre stage in New Delhi’s Bharat Mandapam in Pragati Maidan, holding its second ‘Swavlamban Seminar’ from October 4-5, 2023. This two-day event showcased a robust array of defence innovations, reinforcing India’s commitment to self-reliance in its defence capabilities.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh formally inaugurated the seminar, accompanied by a distinguished ensemble of military leaders, including General Anil Chauhan, Admiral R Hari Kumar, and representatives from the Indian Army and Air Force. The industry’s voice was articulated by figures such as SP Shukla, President of the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM).
The seminar illuminated the Navy’s ‘SPRINT’ initiative, which aims to introduce 75 novel defence innovations, commemorating 75 years since India achieved independence. The event attracted a blend of academia and industry experts, fostering a rich environment for dialogue and potential partnerships.
The unveiling of ‘Swavlamban 2.0’ delineated the roadmap for the Navy’s future indigenisation efforts. Aligned with the sentiments of India’s 76th year of independence, the initiative launched 76 defence challenges, channelled through the 10th Defence India Start-up Challenges (DISC 10) framework.
Adding an international dimension, Singh, accompanied by US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti, introduced two INDUS X challenges developed collaboratively with the US Department of Defense (DoD).
In a nod to evolving digital trends, the seminar unveiled the State Bank of India’s (SBI) NAVeCash Card. This initiative, born from a partnership between SBI and the Indian Navy, pledges to enable cashless transactions even in offshore environments. The card has reportedly been successful in preliminary naval trials.
Highlighting a strategic alliance, the NIIO announced its partnership with the Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) aiming to attract more venture capital into the defence sector through the iDEX Innovators Hub (iIH). The event witnessed multiple MoUs being signed, further cementing ties between the NIIO, academia, and the defence industry.
The seminar balanced its business-centric agenda with insightful sessions addressing naval indigenisation, defence procurement, and even niche areas like naval medical innovations.
Singh’s address underscored the SPRINT initiative’s achievements, crediting the Prime Minister’s foresight. He passionately spoke about rejuvenating indigenous products and skills and motivated the youth to engage in defence-related research and development (R&D) and manufacturing.
“Swavlamban 2.0 transcends a typical seminar. It symbolises a nation’s commitment to a new epoch of defence innovations,” highlighted a senior serving naval officer when asked about the event. As the event concluded, the trajectory for India’s defence capabilities was palpably aligned towards indigenisation, cooperative ventures, and the cultivation of domestic talent.