In a significant step towards encouraging innovation among young minds and encouraging self-reliance in defence, the Indian Navy (IN) on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for knowledge partnership with BharatShakti.in, and the Society for Indigenous Defence Manufacturing (SIDM).
The MoU is expected to provide impetus to promote a culture of innovation and research in futuristic combat technologies to develop and enhance the fighting capabilities of the Indian Navy. The agreement was exchanged between Vice Admiral S N Ghormade, Vice Chief of Naval Staff (VCNS) and Nitin A Gokhale, Founder and Chief Editor, BharatShakti.in and Sunil Mishra, DG, SIDM, during the 2nd meeting of Naval Technology Acceleration Council (NTAC), the apex body of the Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO), in the capital. To engage young minds in premier educational institutions an ‘Open Challenge’ under ‘Indian Naval Students Technical Engagement Programme (IN STEP) was also announced, to be undertaken in partnership with BharatShakti and SIDM.
Speaking on the occasion of inking the agreement, Vice Chief of Naval Staff lauded the role of BharatShakti’s mission in extending frontiers in domestic technology and said “Indian Navy is not only a technology-intensive force but also a technology hungry force. The need to interact with the academia and the industry needs no emphasis”.
The Navy will collaborate with BharatShakti to conduct periodically the Open Challenge Competitions under the Indian Naval Students Engagement Programme (IN STEP) for encouraging the development of cutting edge defence technology towards meeting the navy’s requirements to fight future wars. BharatShakti.in shall provide media outreach and coverage to the Open Challenge Competition being conducted as part of INSTEP.
Indian Navy has been at the forefront of indigenisation with a fully functional and dynamic Directorate of Indigenisation. Additionally, a technology Development Acceleration Cell (TDAC) has been created under NIIO to focus on innovation. The word “acceleration” has been deliberately used in the name of NTAC as the Indian Navy should work as if there is no tomorrow, informed a senior naval official.
According to the Indian Navy, on average more than two IPR applications have been filed by naval personnel every month since the launch of the NIIO by the Defence Minister on 13 August 2020. Patent applications have been filed for military-specific as well as dual-use innovations. Many dual-use products have also already been transferred to the MSMEs for mass production through the National Research and Development Corporation (NRDC) and the Rashtriya Raksha University, Gujarat, informed Indian Navy.
TDAC also engages with academia and the industry in addition to channelling in-house naval innovations. An online monthly interaction with the industry in coordination with the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) has also been instituted. Deep tech startups are also being recognised as ‘Innovation Industry Partners’ and are provided to better understand naval requirements.
To engage young minds in premier educational institutions the IN STEP provides a five-month online internship to work on naval problem statements. An ‘open challenge’ under IN STEP was announced during the NTAC meeting and will be undertaken in partnership with SIDM and BharatShakti.in. An MoU was signed between the three organisations to this effect. There is a proposal to set up a Centre for Indigenization and Self-Reliance (CISR).