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Rajnath Singh Launches iDEX-Prime

The third edition of Innovate4Defence internship (i4D) was also launched on the occasion, inviting applications from students all over India

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launched innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) Prime and 6th Defence India Start-up Challenge (DISC 6) during DefConnect 2.0 in New Delhi on Friday.

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.

The DISC 6 with 38 Problem Statements was also launched by Rajnath Singh. Apart from the three Services and some Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) which have participated in earlier editions, DISC 6 witnesses the participation of newly-formed 7 defence companies, Indian Coast Guard and organisations under Ministry of Home Affairs for the first time.

The Problem Statements relate to Artificial Intelligence (AI), Advanced Imaging, Sensor Systems, Big Data Analytics and Autonomous Unmanned Systems and Secured Communication among others.

Rajnath Singh described DefConnect 2.0 as a symbol of increasing technological prowess of the country and a celebration of the continuous growth of the Indian defense start-up ecosystem. It is indicative to the success of the iDEX initiative which has helped in the development of many new and indigenous technologies, he said.

“iDEX has provided an opportunity to our science and technology professionals to understand futuristic technologies such as AI, Augmented Reality, Block-chain and Space technologies. The start-up ecosystem has also been promoted and encouraged through order placement,” he stated.

He also added that it is an important step towards improving the socio-economic condition of many people.

The Defence Minister stressed on continuous strengthening of all sectors, especially the security apparatus, of the country to deal with challenges that may emanate from the fast-changing world order.

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 & develop new defence technologies and ensure uniqueness in each one of them. 

“There is a need to develop new technologies, with focus on ensuring uniqueness. The Government, Armed Forces, private sector, individual innovators, start-ups, MSMEs and academia can together create a strong bond and move forward to achieve the shared aim of Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” he said.

Chief Executive Officer Niti Aayog, Amitabh Kant described defence manufacturing as key for India to become a manufacturing hub. He said that the achievements of iDEX have laid the foundation of a huge success story that manufacturing will take place in India in the times to come.

Amitabh Kant added that Indian start-ups possess a phenomenal energy and they are successfully finding solutions to challenges in defence manufacturing and agriculture productivity among others. The Government aims to tap the potential of start-ups to solve the problems of the future. He appreciated the fact that defence manufacturing is witnessing an increasing number of women entrepreneurs, who will push the limit of innovation and R&D in India.

Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar credited the start-ups for the success of the iDEX initiative. He, however, termed it as just an interim milestone, calling upon the start-ups to continuously strive to develop home-made technologies and bring them at par with international technologies.

The third edition of Innovate4Defence internship (i4D) was also launched on the occasion, inviting applications from students all over India. In addition, a DIO e-Brochure and the 'Runway for Innovations' e-Coffee Table Book was launched during DefConnect 2.0.

Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Manoj Pande, Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral SN Ghormade, Deputy Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Narmdeshwar Tiwari, other civil and military officials of Ministry of Defence, heads of start-ups, individual innovators were among those present on the occasion.

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