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— General Manoj Pande, Indian Army Chief

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Chief of Army Staff Visits Maharashtra MSME Defence Expo 2024 at Pune

February 26, 2024 Photo(s): By PIB
General Manoj Pande, COAS visited Maharashtra MSME Defence Expo 2024 at the International Exhibition and Convention Centre, Pune.

Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande, visited the Maharashtra MSME (Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises) Defence Expo 2024 at International Exhibition Convention Centre, Moshi, Pune on February 26, 2024. The expo, organised by the Government of Maharashtra, showcases the indigenous capabilities and innovations of the MSMEs, private companies, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratories, and Defence Public Sector Unit (DPSU) setups in Maharashtra.

General Manoj Pande delivered a keynote address to the MSME & students and said that, Maharashtra deserves a mention, for being one of the major contributors to the nation’s economy, industrial growth, exports and FDI attractiveness. He noted that the State was the first in India to frame a Defence Manufacturing Policy after private investment was allowed in the defence sector. Maharashtra has also declared Aerospace and Defence manufacturing as a thrust sector in the ‘Package Scheme of Incentives’. As a result of these efforts, the State has been contributing more than 20 per cent to the country’s output in aircrafts, ships and boats and 30 per cent to the national output in weapons and ammunition. These figures reflect a strategic vision towards promoting the Defence Industrial Sector.

The COAS while highlighting the economic growth made by the India, said that the nation is witnessing an improved consumer affluence, better standards of living, higher literacy quotient and rising aspirations of the citizens. He appreciated the steps taken by the Government agencies and armed forces in policy reforms, skilling initiatives, infrastructure investment, digital potential, frontline entrepreneurship and said that this signifies the commitment to sustainable development and the promise of being a reliable supply chain stakeholder.

He mentioned that, "Leveraging both the MSMEs and the Start Up ecosystem has been a focus area for the Indian Army, as part of the Atmanirbharta pursuit, in meeting our capability development requirements".

The Army Chief elaborated that under the Innovations in Defence Excellence (iDEX) procurement, all projects are mandated to be progressed through Start Ups. "Currently under the iDEX route, 55 Indian Army projects, worth 400 crore are being pursued, which encompass a total of 65 Start Ups. Four contracts worth 70 crore have been concluded for procurement of equipment in limited quantity for field exploitation. The iDEX route also follows the Spiral Mode of development of indigenous technology and platforms, since exploitation of limited quantity in field conditions, enables concurrent development of equipment based on user recommendations", he said.

The COAS mentioned about the Indian Army’s in house Ideas & Innovation initiative, and informed the gathering about two innovations and the technology transferred to industry for mass production, namely VIDYUT RAKSHAK – an Internet of Things (IoT) based generator protection system and a bio medical device.

He mentioned that Indian Army's endeavour to promote innovation also entails pursuing of Intellectual Property Rights for the products developed in collaboration with the industry. He highlighted that 66 IPRs have been filed by the Indian Army to date, of which 13 Patents, 05 Copyrights and 05 Design Registrations have been granted.

The Indian Army, during the expo, displayed its indigenous equipment and systems such as Tank T-90, BMP Mk-II, Soltam Gun, Dhanush Howitzer, K-9 Vajra, Pinaka Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher, Sarvatra Bridge System, Schilka Gun and Fly Catcher Radar of Army Air Defence, Tavor, Sig Sauer & M4 Assault Rifles, Ak-47, Sniper Rifles and various other weapons and equipments.

Chief of the Army Staff also interacted with the participating industries and encouraged them to align their products and services with the future requirements of the Indian Army. He urged all to collectively contribute to the aspirations, goals and objectives of a Rising India, through the resolve and commitment to Atmanirbharta.