Following the lead set by the U.S. and Israel, India is now tapping its domestic start-up ecosystem for technological innovation and self-reliance in defence. Indian entrepreneurs are developing niche technologies which will boost the Indian military’s combat capabilities. They are also enabling the much-needed commercial synergy with Silicon Valley venture firms.
Fellow, International Security Studies Programme
Sameer Patil is Fellow, International Security Studies Programme, Gateway House. Prior to this, he was Assistant Director at the National Security Council Secretariat in Prime Minister’s Office, New Delhi, where he handled counter-terrorism and regional security desks. Sameer has written extensively on various aspects of national security including counter-terrorism, cyber security, Kashmir issue, India-Pakistan and India-China relations. He is also a dissertation advisor at the Naval War College, Goa. In 2019, he was a recipient of the Canberra Fellowship, awarded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia. He tweets at @sameerpatilIND. Download high-res picture
M.A. and M.Phil. in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University
International security and conflict, cyber-security, defence business, counter-terrorism
Last modified: April 8, 2021
Hailed as the highest altitude tunnel in the world, the Atal Tunnel at Rohtang pass in Himachal Pradesh is a significant part of India’s border infrastructure push. It has reduced travel time from Manali to Leh and forward areas. It is significant for national defence as also tourism because it provides all-weather connectivity to the Lahaul-Spiti Valley.
With the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2021 set to be introduced during parliament’s on-going budget session, India is now ready to introduce its own official digital currency—following in the footsteps of China and Russia. So far, Indian regulations prohibited the public from trading in crypto-currencies. However, the investor community has an interest in them, as an asset that is not subject to government devaluation, unlike regular fiat currency in circulation. This infographic traces the evolution of crypto-currencies since the launch of Bitcoin in 2009.
The recently signed Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) between India and the U.S. symbolises the strengthened defence and security partnership between the two countries and the growing interoperability capabilities between the two militaries. India-U.S. defence and security ties have flourished in the last decade, with increasing focus on defence technology co-development and co-production. The enhanced G2G engagement is also reflected in the commercial sector where American and Indian defence companies have partnered in the aerospace sector to become part of the global supply chain.
The recent opening of the Atal tunnel represents the border infrastructure build-up underway for the last 10 years. Multiple other road and rail projects are being implemented, which will connect remote areas along the Line of Actual Control and also support the Indian military’s deployment in the region.
Start-ups are the latest entrants in the defence manufacturing sector. They are getting a bigger role through the Innovations in Defence Excellence programme. The technologies being developed by them will add to the Indian military’s operational and combat capabilities. But beyond the obvious market for the defence forces, there is also the huge homeland security market, in India and abroad which the start-ups can tap into.
Start-ups are the latest entrants in the defence manufacturing sector. They have greater access through the Innovations in Defence Excellence programme. The technologies developed by them will add to the Indian military’s operational and combat capabilities. Beyond the obvious market for the defence forces, there is also the huge homeland security market in India and abroad for the start-ups.
The recently imposed import embargo on 101 items in the defence sector indicates that the government has confidence in indigineous defence-industrial capacity to fulfill the requirements of the Indian military, without resorting to imports.
On 18th August, Pakistan announced wide-ranging restrictions on prominent anti-India terrorist leaders. These steps are clearly aimed to prevent Pakistan from slipping into the black list of the Financial Action Task Force, where Pakistan is already grey-listed. Their implementation remains key as in the past, Islamabad's global anti-terrorism commitments have been abandoned once global scrutiny of its support to terrorist infrastructure, decreases or is distracted.
The delivery of five Rafale fighter jets last month is a big boost for Indian military capacity. The government's recent ban on the import of 101 defence items is a major step forward in building domestic defence-industrial capabilities. Partnering with like-minded diplomatic partners and adopting emerging technologies will help India in this endeavour.