The Defence Minister of India, Rajnath Singh, equated startups with new energy, commitment, and enthusiasm and said that India would emerge as a lighthouse for the world in the field of innovation. 

“Startups are more open to adopting new technology architecture, making them essential to the country’s progress. As the number of startups increases to approximately one lakh today, with more than 100 unicorns, it shows the enthusiasm of our youth and their drive to innovate,” said Singh.

Also read: DRDO transfers AI project to Navy to increase operational availability of MiG-29K fighters

He was speaking at the launch of the ninth edition of Defence India Startup Challenges on Cybersecurity at the Startup Manthan at Aero India. 

Investor hub

He also said the Indian investors have already pledged more than ₹200 crore through the iDEX Investor Hub. The iDEX Investor Hub aims to accelerate investment in the defence sector.

iDEX has introduced several innovators to the market, leading to direct and indirect employment generation for our skilled, and semi-skilled workers, according to Singh. iDEX has contributed to Aatmanirbharta in the defence ecosystem and emphasised the government’s commitment to support entrepreneurs through new opportunities and facilitate the development of technologies through policy interventions, he added.

Also read: Day 3 of Aero India: Defence Ministry to organise events for showcasing innovations and signing of contracts

Additionally, the Defense Innovation Organization (DIO) signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with investors such as ISRO, IN-SPACe, and ISpA during the event to strengthen the defence space. Another agreement was reached with the Border Roads Organization (BRO) to potentially launch challenge organisations. The event also saw the launch of the fourth edition of Innovate4Defence internship (i4D) to invite applications from students across the country.