If India is to be a superpower in the near future, then advanced and niche technologies will play a pivotal role in the process, according to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Mr. Singh, who was speaking at the Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (DIAT) here on Friday, said scientists and professors at DIAT would be the mainstay in churning out advanced technological products vital to the nation’s security
“If we want to make India a superpower in the next 10,15 or 20 years, then it is a given that advanced and niche technologies play a vital role. And only an institute like DIAT can contribute here, much more than anyone else…it fills me with pride to be the Defence Minister of such institutes and I think DIAT should get national recognition,” he stated. The institute was identifying technologies of the future and training manpower at the same time, he noted.
Lauding the efforts of DIAT scientists, he observed that the products being developed here could work wonders and that they were in line with the Prime Minister’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat [Self-reliant India]’ mission.
“Even if common people may not understand the importance of your [DIAT scientists] efforts or your role, I understand it all too well, having been a student of physics and a teacher myself,” said the Minister. He urged DIAT to hold international workshops to publicise its work.
Initiatives had been launched by his Ministry wherein members of the armed forces, the academia, industry and government representatives could come on a common platform and share knowledge and best practices to further innovation. “We have mooted initiatives where knowledge and best practices will be shared. But this will only be possible through mutual coordination, else it will not transpire,” Mr. Singh stressed.
The Minister referred to the iDEX For Fauji initiative, which was launched during the Defence-Expo in 2018 with the aim to encourage and nurture innovations in the defence sector. It had attracted new talent, he pointed out.
The Centre had approved a massive outlay of ₹1000 crore only for iDEX-linked purchases – an unprecedented outlay that had not been done previously for schemes of this nature. “Moreover, the Defence Ministry has also earmarked ₹500 crore separately to support 300 start-ups to enhance innovation in the defence and aerospace sector. I promise that this amount will increase if I remain Defence Minister,” he said.
A climate for research and innovation had been facilitated by the Centre, which was increasing the role to be essayed by the private sector in defence.
“I was in Nagpur recently, where a private sector firm handed over one lakh grenades to the Army manufactured over an astonishing five month-period. One hand grenade costs ₹3,400; the firm was also exporting them to countries like Indonesia for ₹7,400 a grenade,” he highlighted. The Indian command over and advancements in technology could help propel the country into becoming an economic superpower.
Emphasis on research
The effects of the Centre’s patronage and push towards research was beginning to show now. In the National Education Policy 2020, the government had given hard thought to the shape of the National Research Foundation and earmarked ₹50,000 crore to be expended on researchers and their five-year courses.
Earlier, the Minister presided over DIAT’s general body meeting and interacted with the faculty and students, besides inaugurating new facilities.
Mr. Singh also visited the headquarters of the Southern Command of the Army and the Army Sports Institute (ASI) later in the day.
At the ASI, he felicitated the personnel who represented India in the recently-concluded Tokyo Olympics, including Subedar Neeraj Chopra, who won the Gold in javelin throw.
Stadium in Neeraj Chopra name
The Minister inaugurated a stadium named after Chopra inside the ASI.
“Felicitated Subedar Neeraj Chopra at the Army Sports Institute in Pune today for his amazing performance at Tokyo Olympics. He made the country proud by winning the Olympics Gold Medal. Now, the ASI has renamed the Stadium after him. Wishing him success in his future endeavours,” he tweeted.