Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), an initiative launched by the Centre in April, is looking to create an ecosystem of around 1,000 startups working for the defence needs of the country in the next three years, said a senior official.
While addressing students at the Indian Institute of Management - Ahmedabad (IIM-A) here Tuesday, Ajay Kumar, secretary, department of defence production under the ministry of defence, said the iDEX initiative is aimed at encouraging budding entrepreneurs to come up with technology solutions for the defence sector.
"Three years down the line, we will have 1,000 startups working in this (defence) space and at least five products adopted by the government. In addition, we would like to see 25 startup solutions accepted by the services," Kumar said while addressing the students of the 'Armed Forces Programme' of IIM-A.
Kumar said the larger goal of this initiative of engaging with startups is to reduce dependency on the imports of defence equipments.
"China has transited from being the biggest importer (of defence equipments) to the third largest exporter today. How we can do this? We have to create our own technology. We can not do merely by doing assembly," said the IAS officer.
He pointed out that since software is India's strength, the country can leverage this strength "to create technology for the world".
"iDEX was launched with an aim to work as a bridge between startup ecosystem and defence needs of the country. It will try to indigenise imported defence components worth Rs 40,000 crore," the official added.
iDEX, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April, is funded and managed by a Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO), he said.
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