defence innovation fund

At the Aero India 2017 air show in Bengaluru on Tuesday, Indian defence minister Manohar Parrikar announced that government will soon set up a Defence Innovation Fund to encourage new entrants in the aviation sector, especially startups.

“India’s public sector giants HAL and BEL will participate in the initiative whose main principle is to encourage research & development in defence aviation”, said defence minister at Aero India 2017, a five-day event which will see the participation of 279 foreign and 270 Indian companies.

“With the Indian government’s new focus on boosting home-grown defence companies and startups, we are likely to see an increase in the number of private players in the defence and aviation sectors in the coming years. Towards this end, government has already relaxed FDI norms in the two sectors, and will take more measures to ensure greater ease of doing business” , Parrikar said.

“The government is committed to creating an enabling environment for manufacturers in the defence sector. Additional initiatives are going to be unveiled to promote businesses in the sector. The industrial licenses issued to private players is testimony of the government’s will. Not just manufacturing, the government is keen on promoting design too,” he stated.

While it is speculative to understand that by “Aviation Startup” the defence minister Parrikar means to include startups working in Drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as there aren’t as many startups in India working in aviation sector.

While drones are banned for commercial use in India, the unmanned aerial vehicles are used largely by government organizations and police forces for applications such as surveillance in disaster management, wildlife surveys, and during tournaments such as the Indian Premier League. Startups are pushing the envelope for drone applications in India with deeper analytical and decision-making capabilities, while crunching development time.

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In India, aerospace startups such as Pune-based NavStik Autonomous Systems, Bengaluru-based Edall Systems and Chennai-based Aero360 are building software, hardware solutions and plug-and-play units.

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