Defence Minister Rajnath Singh bats for India's strategic autonomy

by IANS |



New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday strongly pitched for the country’s strategic autonomy.


He said that the nation cannot remain dependent on the import of weapons as it can be fatal for strategic autonomy.


“Without self-reliance, India cannot take independent decisions on global issues in line with its national interests,” the Defence Minister said during the launch of Acing Development of Innovative Technologies with iDEX (ADITI) scheme at DefConnect 2024 in New Delhi.


The Defence Minister also voiced Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unwavering commitment to encourage the youth to bring forth innovative ideas.


He said that to motivate young innovators, iDEX was expanded to iDEX Prime, with the assistance increasing from Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 10 crore.


The Defence Minister also highlighted the efforts being made by the Central government to achieve ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence production, including notifying positive indigenisation lists of major platforms and equipment that are being/will be manufactured in India.


He suggested to the DDP that in the coming 4-5 years, the country should come out with a short negative list containing items that will be imported and “we should strive to eliminate that list to achieve complete self-reliance.”


Under the scheme, start-ups are eligible to receive grant-in-aid of up to Rs 25 crore for their research, development, and innovation endeavours in defence technology.


The ADITI scheme worth Rs 750 crore for the period 2023-24 to 2025-26 falls under the iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence). It aims to develop about 30 deep-tech critical and strategic technologies in the proposed timeframe. It also envisages to create ‘Technology Watch Tool’ to bridge the gap between the expectations and requirements of the modern Armed Forces and the capabilities of the defence innovation ecosystem.


In the first edition of ADITI, 17 challenges – Indian Army (3), Indian Navy (5), Indian Air Force (5) and Defence Space Agency (4) - have been launched.


The event also witnessed the launch of the 11th edition of Defence India Start-up Challenge (DISC), heralding a new chapter in the collaboration between the defence establishment and the start-up ecosystem.


In addition, DefConnect 2024 witnessed the launch of a rolling iDEX internship program, aimed at nurturing young talent and providing them with hands-on experience and mentorship in defence innovation.


The iDEX also announced MoUs with new investors under the iDEX Investors Hub (IIH). These partnerships will facilitate increased investment in defence start-ups, providing them with the necessary capital and support to scale their ventures and drive innovation in the sector.


These strategic partnerships have now taken the pledge to funds, from Rs 200 crore to more than Rs 500 crore.



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