Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh has called upon the domestic defence manufacturers to invest more in Research & Development (R&D) for India to keep up pace with the continuously-evolving world. He was addressing the North Tech Symposium, jointly organised by the Northern Command of the Indian Army, Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) and IIT, Jammu on September 12, 2023.
Shri Rajnath Singh was of the view that although R&D is a risky venture as it requires out-of-the-box thinking and sometimes does not give desired results, it still remains one of the basic elements for the development of any country. Hence, capital investment in R&D becomes a necessity, he emphasised.
“India is passing through a transitional phase. There is nothing wrong in acquiring a technology through imitation or transfer, but we cannot become a developed nation on these grounds alone. We need to file our own patents, for which a lot of investment in R&D is needed. Capital investment in R&D may reduce today's profits, but it will prove to be beneficial to the industry and the country in the long term,” the Raksha Mantri said.
Shri Rajnath Singh urged the industry partners to focus on creating a culture that encourages R&D, based on skilled human resources. He suggested linking the work of institutes such as IITs, IIMs and IISCs with the defence sector in order to create an R&D ecosystem in the field. He added that efforts should be made to connect with the Indian R&D sector, the engineers and scientists who work in top universities, companies, space agencies & scientific research organisations abroad and wish to be a part of India's growth story. He also recommended hiring of top managers, legal experts and financial experts from within the country and abroad to create a culture conducive of R&D.
The Raksha Mantri underlined that fact that to obtain the services of top talents, there is a need to create a good work culture & positive environment and adopt new HR standards. “We cannot run our workforce in the 21st century on the basis of the HR policy of 19th century. Today, the quality of work is more important than the number of hours worked. Focus should be on intellect and innovation. A work culture needs to be developed where there is a concept of senior and junior; not superior and inferior. There is a need to involve women in R&D with more effectiveness,” he said.
Shri Rajnath Singh also called for ensuring a proper distinction in ownership and management in Indian industrial units. Dynastic ownership can be justified in the case of companies, but management at the dynastic level sometimes proves fatal for the company and its employees, he said.
The Raksha Mantri also exhorted SIDM to create an independent body, comprising scientists and experts from the industry, which will work with transparency and evaluate the products made by the companies. “The buyer or the government will definitely try to check the quality of the products from their end, but there is a need to develop a system for internal evaluation as well. This quality check system will increase your credibility globally with time,” he said.
Shri Rajnath Singh also suggested SIDM to create an internal vigilance mechanism to counter the potential cases of corruption and favoritism. “If any company affiliated with you is indulging in any wrongdoing or passing wrong information, then you should bring it before the government. Such actions will further increase people’s trust in the institutions,” he said.
The Raksha Mantri listed out the steps taken by the Government, led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, to support the domestic industry, such as ensuring demand assurance as well as rolling out the transfer of technology policy of DRDO. He added that the synergy between the government and the domestic companies has resulted in record defence production of Rs one lakh crore and exports of Rs 16,000 crore in Financial Year 2023-24. He expressed confidence that the defence exports will soon touch the Rs 20,000 crore mark. He extended Ministry of Defence’s continued support to the industry to ensure their as well as holistic development of the nation, in line with the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative.
The North Tech symposium is an event conducted annually and this year it was organised at IIT, Jammu. The event witnessed an enthusiastic participation of around 200 Industry partners and provided an opportunity for knowledge diffusion among various stakeholders to create awareness of contemporary technologies and hardware solutions available with the manufacturers under ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
On the occasion, the Raksha Mantri also gave away SIDM Champion awards 2023 to a number of industry partners, including Bharat Forge Limited, TATA Advanced Systems Limited, Larsen & Toubro Limited and IdeaForge Technology Limited.
During the symposium, Shri Rajnath Singh witnessed a plethora of indigenous weapons/equipment. He lauded the efforts of all stakeholders including the Northern Command, IIT Jammu, SIDM & Industry Partners, in their joint efforts to push the domestic defence industry.
The symposium paved the way to identify suitable technologies and products for subsequent trials & induction in Northern Command and provided a unique platform to all Industry partners to showcase their products, innovations and technical capabilities. The symposium was aimed to be a facilitator of the best of the indigenous technologies of various equipment to be used in live operations & battle fields.
Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology and Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Dr Jitendra Singh, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr Samir V Kamat, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi and SIDM President Shri SP Shukla were among those present on the occasion.