Hyderabad: The Centre has deleted 101 defence items from the import list and decided to design and develop them indigenously in India.

"The Government of India has listed 101 defence items that are not to be imported. Rather they will be designed and developed by the industry in India. Thereby creating vast opportunities for the industry to participate in the defence space," said Dr G. Satheesh Reddy, Secretary, Department of Defence, R&D and Chairman, DRDO.

He said 87% by value of the largest order of Akashi Missile backed by BDL valued at Rs 25,000 – 30,000 crores originate from the private industries.

He was speaking on Opportunities in the defence sector, a panel discussion organized as part of the ongoing TiE Global Summit 2020.

JA Chowdary Chairman, India Blockchain Standards Committee & General Partner, Succeed Innovations Fund moderated the discussion.

"About 2000 tier – I and tier – II industries are now working with DRDO," Dr. Sateesh said.

He said the government and its defence organizations have devoted themselves to smoothening the regulatory and administerial processes to make the industry partnership with the defence sector a seamless experience.

Dr. Satheesh was delighted to inform the audience that more than 1500 patents along with testing facilities and R&D capabilities of DRDO have been made available for all the participating Indian organizations to help them in their partnership with the government in the defence sector.

Dr. Satheesh strongly affirmed that India does not want to be a technology follower anymore and rather becomes a technology leader.

Dr. Satheesh urged the industry to lead the research and development in the sector, while DRDO would concentrate on futuristic technology.

"Under the Government of India's Atmanirbhar Bharat, the government envisions and facilities mean to see India design, develop, test, supply (within India) and export in the domain of defence," Dr.Sateesh said.

Participating in the discussion, Vish Sahasranamam, CEO & Co-Founder, FORGE Accelerator, said initiatives like iDEX have successfully helped connect the military users to collaborate and co-create with industry innovators he expressed.

He added that the forum iDEX also grants funds ranging from Rs 1.5 crores to innovators to produce prototypes and facilitate access to testing and advanced field-testing trials as well. He also informed the audience that the defence sector would also help the innovators retain the IP with them.

Vish informed the entrepreneur audience that iDEX would be a great launchpad for innovators to translate their vision and fulfill the needs of the country. He suggested that innovators can become a part of iDEX platform through dedicated and open innovation challenges that are frequently listed on the iDEX website.

He mentioned that 29 innovation challenges put forth by the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force. He said they have received 1200+ responses from start-ups as solutions.

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