Discussion on Establishing Defence Manufacturing Ecosystem in India
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The VIF in collaboration with the IIT, Madras held a Roundtable Discussion on “Establishing Defence Manufacturing Ecosystem in India” at the VIF on 18th April 2024, where the participants deliberated the importance of establishing a defence manufacturing ecosystem in India, emphasized the significance of a strong scientific and technological ecosystem for national security, the need for strategic vision and investment in high-tech industries, and collaboration between academia, industry, and the armed forces to drive innovation and address new job requirements. Director, Dr Arvind Gupta, who chaired the discussion, underlined the importance of inputs from the academics in establishing a strong defence manufacturing as well as S&T ecosystem in the country. The industry representatives, scientists, senior government officials, and members from the strategic community in addition to the expert group members from the VIF participated in the discussion.

Four Professors from IIT, Madras made their presentations which followed by a brainstorming discussion on the issues pertaining to defence manufacturing in India. Rear Admiral Deepak Bansal (Retd.), Professor of Practice, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT-Madras, spoke on “Initiative for Establishing Indigenisation and Innovation Centre for Defence Systems (IICDS) at IIT, Madras”, where he highlighted the IICDS aims to accelerate the indigenisation of defence technologies, foster innovation, and enhance national security by bringing together government agencies, research institutions, academia, and private industries. Prof. P. A. Ramakrishna, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIT, Madras, focused on “Ramjets: Increasing Battlefield Range”, in which he talked about use of aluminum based fuel-rich propellant, which has higher density than the current fuels used for hypersonic flight, looks at enhancing the flight envelope of a ramjet.

Prof. Prabhu Rajgopal, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT, Madras, in his presentation on “Wheel of Innovation: Tech Transfer and Commercialization including Role of the Centre for Non Destructive Evaluation (NDE) and Mechanical Engineering” discussed the innovation culture and entrepreneurial ecosystem at IIT Madras, drawing upon his experiences at his Laboratory the Center for NDE, as well as his role as the faculty in charge for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E). Finally, Prof. H S N Murthy, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIT, Madras, in his presentation “Higher Technical Education to Empower an Atmanirbhar India: Challenges Ahead & Way Forward”, pointed out that education, especially higher education is a very important link to a country's development, and also feeds into our booming startup ecosystem.

The participants in the discussion deliberated on various aspects of defence manufacturing, especially the role of academics in establishing a robust defence manufacturing ecosystem in the country to realize the goal of self-reliance India in defence. The importance of funding academic institutions directly for deep technology projects; skill mapping and human resource development; strengthening of industry and academia collaboration in order to address job requirements and specialization in engineering; improving interaction between academia, industry and the armed forces to drive innovation; importance of quality control in manufacturing processes; standardizing certifications and improve data repositories; increasing order to strengthen domestic industries and reduce costs; and better technology absorption among others were highlighted during the meeting.

Event Date 
April 18, 2024

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