Author: Capt. Nikunj Parashar, Founder & CMD, Sagar Defence Engineering Pvt. Ltd.
In recent times, the Indian Defence sector has emerged as a focal point for the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative, emphasizing self-reliance and indigenous manufacturing. With a strong commitment from the government, the Defence and Aerospace sector is witnessing a transformative phase. Recognizing the significance of a robust domestic defence industry, the vision of the government that is steering towards transparency, predictability, and ease of doing business has led to the establishment of an indigenous manufacturing infrastructure, supported by a robust research and development ecosystem, that is at the forefront of this transformative journey.
In the quest for self-reliance, the Indian defence manufacturing industry has seen a surge in innovation driven by a vibrant ecosystem of startups. Contributing to the development of cutting-edge technologies that empower and support the country’s defence efforts, such startups have become key players in the larger goal of reducing dependency on external sources for defence procurement. To foster the growth of the domestic defence industry, the government has implemented various initiatives and measures such as de-licensing, de-regulation, export promotion, and liberalization of foreign investments aimed at creating a conducive environment for startups. The ‘Make in India’ and ‘Startup India’ initiatives, supported by other policy measures, have modernized the armed forces and boost indigenous manufacturing.
One significant step towards fostering innovation in the Defence and Aerospace ecosystem is the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) program. By providing a platform for collaboration between startups and the defence forces, iDEX accelerates the integration of innovative technologies into the country’s defence capabilities. In addition to iDEX, the government has implemented various supportive schemes to encourage innovation within the Defence and Aerospace sector. These schemes provide financial support, mentorship, and resources to startups, nurturing a culture of innovation and research. The ‘Make in India’ initiative is not just a slogan but a strategic move to reduce external dependency for defence procurement by promoting indigenous manufacturing, the government has enhanced the self-sufficiency of the Indian Defence sector. Startups, with their agility and innovation, play a crucial role in this process, contributing to the development of state-of-the-art technologies and products.
While the journey towards self-reliance in the defence sector is promising, it is not without challenges. Indian startups face obstacles such as funding constraints, regulatory hurdles, and the need for skilled manpower. However, the opportunities are immense. The government’s commitment to simplifying regulations, promoting exports, and encouraging foreign investment presents a favourable environment for startups to thrive. The role of Indian startups in defence exports is gaining prominence on the global stage with a focus on creating innovative solutions, these startups are well-positioned to cater to the evolving needs of the global defence market. Collaborations with foreign partners, facilitated by the government’s export promotion measures, have opened avenues for Indian startups to showcase their capabilities and contribute to global security. With continued support from the government and collaborative efforts, Indian startups are poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the country’s defence industry. The journey towards an Atmanirbhar Bharat is not just a vision but a collective effort, with startups leading the way into a new era of self-sufficiency and technological prowess.