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Achieving advancement in technology can make India superpower: Defence Minister

PUNE (PTI): India can become a superpower if it achieves advancement in technology, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said.

He was addressing students and researchers at the Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (DIAT), a deemed university of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in Pune on Friday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was committed to taking the country on the path of progress in research and innovation, he said.

"Some initiatives have been started by the Defence Ministry to make progress in research and innovation through collective efforts from Armed Forces, industries and academia, and it can happen only through mutual understanding and by sharing knowledge and best practices," he said.

The Defence Ministry has created a platform called iDEX (Innovation for Defense Excellence) to engage and attract new talent and to get field experience and inputs from the Armed Forces personnel, and the Centre has allocated Rs 1,000 crore for the project, Singh said.

Besides, the Government has also allocated Rs 500 crore for research and innovation in aerospace and defence by supporting 300 start-ups, he added.

Talking about the successful delivery of one lakh hand grenades by a private Nagpur-based firm to the Indian Army within five months, Singh said the firm had exported similar hand grenades to Indonesia.

But the Indian cost for each hand grenade was Rs 3,400 and the company exported similar grenades to Indonesia at over Rs 7,000 apiece, he said.

"My point is that if we achieve advancement in technology, India can become a superpower. It can become a super economic power," he said.

Singh also appreciated the efforts of the institute for taking out nine patents in the COVID research area. Prime minister Modi's vision is to make the country Atmanirbhar (self-reliant), he said. "Towards this goal, we have initiated several steps for indigenization of defence technologies and manufacturing. These initiatives require a large pool of technologists armed with skills of future warfare," the Minister said.

Appreciating the contribution made by DIAT, Singh said it should get recognition as an "institute of national importance". The institute is engaged in identifying future technologies and training manpower considering the importance of technology for national security, he said.

"I am not just talking about security. If we want to make India a superpower in the next few years, it is not possible without the niche and advance technology and if anyone can contribute in this endeavour, it is people like you who can do it," he said.

Singh also expressed happiness that DIAT has taken a proactive role in this direction by opening new schools with focus on Quantum Technology, Robotics and Automation and Defence Technology. DIAT has also started inter-disciplinary research and teaching programme in the area of Quantum Technologies and Robotics, he noted.

He also witnessed some demonstrations of these technologies during his visit.

The Defence Minister also appreciated that DIAT has been offering online certificate courses for young engineering professionals in Artificial Intelligence and Cyber Security. "It is heartening to note that 1,500 young professionals have already been trained by DIAT," he said, while also suggesting that the institute hold international conferences to deliberate on future technologies.

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