Defence Minister Says India Needs More R & D and Innovation


New Delhi: There is need for India to focus more on Research and Development, innovation and creation of cutting-edge technologies to become self-reliant in defence production, said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

Inaugurating the Seventh edition of Engineers Conclave in Bengaluru on September 19, he said this year’s conclave is based on two themes, ‘Defence Technology & Innovation’ and ‘Transformation of Rural India Using Digital Technologies’.

Singh said the Indian defence industry had not performed to its full potential in the past that led to the country’s overwhelming dependence on imported arms. He emphasised that developing critical and cutting-edge technologies indigenously will make the country self-sufficient, saving the precious foreign exchange, which could be utilised in other development activities in the country. He described continuous innovation as the key to success for any nation, given the fast pace at which technology becomes obsolete every passing day.

“It is well said that when nations go to war, the one with the best technology is most likely to win”, he said.

Stressing on the need for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Defence, the Minister said AI is capable of bringing significant transformations in the way future military operations would be conducted. He said the Government has already prepared a roadmap for making India a significant power of AI application in Defence.

He emphasised on technology and innovation in the defence sector as it has enormous spin-off benefits for the masses as well.

Listing out the initiatives launched by the Government in this direction, the Minister said Innovation for Defence Excellence (iDEX) scheme has been started to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, Startups, Individual Innovators and R&D institutes. To encourage innovation, he said, ‘Make in India’ initiative has ensured that opportunities are given to MSMEs and Start-up companies. ‘Start-up India’ is providing a platform for conversion of new ideas into niche technology and its application, he added.

Reiterating the Government’s resolve to make India a US$ five trillion economy by 2024 and subsequently US$ 10 trillion by 2030, the Minister said defence is the major sector which has to contribute significantly towards realisation of this level of growth. He expressed hope to achieve a turnover of US$ 26 billion in Aerospace and Defence goods & services by 2025, creating employment for nearly two to three million people.

On ‘Transformation of Rural India Using Digital Technologies, Singh said in his earlier tenures as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Union Minister of Agriculture, he always tried to ensure that policies and programmes of the Government are formulated taking into account the concerns of rural India. He said rural transformation is the basic requirement for the overall development of India.

The Minister voiced the Government’s resolve of transforming the lives of farmers and people living in rural India. “The trinity of Jan-Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile (JAM) had been rightly emphasised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring about this transformation”, he said.