On Independence Day 2014, from the historical Red Fort in Delhi, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi articulated his grand vision of “Make in India.” This is the Government’s flagship programme where Defence & Aerospace has been nominated as a critical sector.
With the enabling environment provided by the government under its Make in India policy, for the first time Indian Army under its then - Deputy Chief of Army Staff (P&S), Lt Gen Subrata Saha, PVSM, UYSM, YSM, VSM** through the year 2016 and early 2017, undertook extensive outreach programmes, across the country to connect Industry – Academia – User.
The objective of these interactions was to leverage developing manufacturing and technological capabilities in the Nation for self-reliance towards national security objectives.
Initially, the interaction was primarily with the Industry. By the time the fourth Army-Industry interaction was held, it was realised that while bilateral Army - Industry interactionmay provide for some immediate requirements, for the long term and sustainable solutions we need to involve the Academia. This was path breaking, an idea never tried before. The format for interaction was modified to become trilateral i.e. Army – Industry – Academia.
As many as 19 such Army-Industry bilateral interactive sessions were held with overwhelming response, involving 1967 entities, large, medium, small and start-ups in different parts of the Nation. Alongside, 12 trilateral interactions were held at different IITs, IISc and other institutes of technological excellence involving 753 scholars.
Four tours to forward areas were organised for scientists and industrialists, to include J & K, Sikkim, Deserts and Rann of Kutch and Ladakh to give them an opportunity to understand the requirements first hand. Equipment displays/firepower demonstrations were conducted for 2318 scholars and industry representatives at Ahmednagar, Coimbatore, Gopalpur, Devlali and Mhow.
Besides these several seminars were held on topics specific to arms, common material and technologies. Interspersed were workshops for procurement executives on articulating specifications (GSQR), benchmarking, costing, and contract management conducted by subject matter experts, professors and industrialists.
To institutionalise the process the Raksha Mantri accorded approval for setting up an Army Design Bureau (ADB). The ADB published two volumes of Compendium of Problem Statements, which are an outcome of detailed interactions with the academia, forces in the field and the industry.
Volume 1 comprising 50 problem statements and an outline of futuristic technological requirements 2025 and beyond, was released by the then Raksha Mantri on 5 December 2016. Volume 2 comprising 28 problem statements was released by the COAS on 24 March 2017.
It is now incumbent on the industry and the academia to come up with solutions to these problem statements.
It is proposed to conduct a series of seminars pan India at various institutes of technological excellence in order to seek solutions to problems statements published by the armed forces.
A series of seminars would be conducted across the country at Mumbai, Coimbatore, Gandhinagar, Bhubaneswar, Kharagpur / Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kanpur and Mandi/Ropar in institutes of technological excellence most of whom have signed MOUs with the armed forces. Representatives of the industry and Services shall be participating for all the Seminars.
During these seminars, the academia and industry would make presentations on solutions to the problem statements released earlier and also promulgated on Indian Army website.
The initial session on presentations shall be followed up by breakout seminars involving interactive sessions amongst each presenter, the users and interested industry. Should an industry desire, separate one on one meeting could be arranged for further detailed deliberations. In case there are aspects that are sensitive or classified they can be deliberated in the one on one sessions. Each Seminar shall close with a consolidating session in which a brief-back of the breakout sessions would be put across to the participants. This would be followed by deliberations on how to take forward the solutions that are acceptable to the user.
The academia and industry has been encouraged to come up with presentations on any proposals to enhance operational effectiveness particularly in the context of ongoing operations in counter-terrorism and the line of control with Pakistan, Siachen Glacier and line of actual control with China.
It is visualized that depending on the technological readiness level (TRL) the solutions should be taken forward either as services technology board (STB) projects, technology development fund (TDF) projects and Make projects. Those lower in the order of TRL could be proceeded as STB projects.
Solutions where the concept have already been proven but development of prototype is necessary should be taken forward as TDF projects. Those solutions which are closer to realisation of prototype should be taken up by the Industry as Make II projects. This would enable the industry to take advantage of the provisions of the DPP 2016 Make II, while encouraging outcome driven research in the Academia.
During these seminars, academic institutes and industries desirous of displaying exhibits of solutions may do so in consultation with the organisers.
At the end of the series of seminars FICCI in conjunction with DefenceAviationPost.com shall compile the solutions presented into a Compendium of Solutions to Problem Statements to be delivered to the concerned authorities, academic institutes and industry. The solutions would be presented in the form of proposals with a view to take it forward and also inform other industries particularly MSMEs to join the efforts. Sensitive and/or classified parts of the proposal shall not be included in the compendium.
An Inaugural function to roll out the series of seminars is planned to be conducted at New Delhi tentatively on September 11, 2017. The Hon’ble Raksha Mantri has been requested to grace the occasion as the Chief Guest. The Chief of Army Staff has kindly consented to be the Guest of Honour.
The Inaugural function is proposed to be conducted in three sessions. The session – I would be the Inaugural Session comprising of speeches by dignitaries as per programme being forwarded separately. In session II some solutions and proposals from the academia and industry shall be presented. In Session III an update on the various initiatives of the Service towards indigenisation in the recent past would be appreciated.
Academic institutes and industries that wish to make presentations at the inaugural session may contact FICCI or DefenceAviationPost.com by August 16, 2017.
FICCI, Indian Army and DefenceAviationPost have undertaken this mission of bringing together all stakeholders to present their solutions and compile them for the Services to take them forward. In the ultimate analysis, the vision of ‘Make in India’ has to lead to ‘Win India’s Wars with Indian Solutions’. Given the unparalleled growth and development that our Nation is heading towards, self-reliance in national security is an essential imperative. The Indian Army’s outreach programme clearly highlighted the pockets of excellence existing in the country. Through this initiative the endeavour is to get all the stakeholders to collaborate and consolidate the excellence towards realising the vision of the Hon’ble Prime Minister to make India a global leader in Defence manufacturing.