Pointing out that events in Pakistan or elsewhere in the world impacted India too, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today stressed the need for continuous strengthening of all sectors, especially the security apparatus, to deal with challenges that may emanate from the fast-changing global order.
“Every new threat is becoming more complex and challenging than the previous one. After the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is now witnessing the Ukrainian conflict. We have also witnessed instability in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and now in Pakistan. One way or the other, such events impact our country as well. There is a need to equip the country in every area to ensure peace and stability. The development of disruptive technology is a key requirement to handle new threats and challenges of the future,” he said.
He was launching Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) Prime and sixth Defence India Start-up Challenge (DISC 6) during DefConnect 2.0 in New Delhi. The iDEX-Prime aims to support projects, requiring support beyond Rs 1.5 crore up to Rs 10 crore, to help ever-growing start-ups in the defence sector.
Terming the private sector, individual innovators, start-ups and MSMEs as strong pillars of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rajnath exhorted them to imagine, innovate and develop new defence technologies and ensure uniqueness in each one of them.
He stated that defence technologies were one of those technologies, utility and uniqueness of which held equal importance. “The usefulness of defence technologies is important, but its availability to us alone holds equal relevance. As the technology spreads to others, it loses relevance. If the uniqueness is lost, the effect of that technology gradually diminishes. There is a need to develop new technologies, with focus on ensuring uniqueness,” he said.
Rajnath listed out a number of steps taken by the government to create an eco-system that strengthens the domestic industry, start-ups and innovators, equip the armed forces with latest equipment and help the government achieve the ultimate aim of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. The measures include earmarking 68 per cent of capital procurement budget for domestic procurement to promote ‘Aatmanirbharta’, reserving 25 per cent of defence R&D budget for private industry and start-ups and the recent release of third positive indigenisation list of 101 items.
He exuded confidence that many start-ups would soon come out as defence unicorns and make a place in Fortune 500 companies.