Defence India Startup Challenge kick-starts in Kochi

The third edition of the Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC 3) began at Maker Village in Kochi on Friday giving innovators a rare opportunity to engage directly with the military and showcase their technologies.

The programme got off under the iDEX (Innovation for Defence Excellence), where Maker Village is a partner, having been inducted one-and-a-half months ago as an official partner with the Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) under the union government, a press release from Maker Village said.

Rear Admiral R J Nadkarni, Chief of Staff, Southern Naval Command, unveiled the Defence India Startup Challenges, whileDevelopment Commissioner of Cochin Special Economic Zone (CEPZ) D V Swamy launched the Defence India Open Challenge.

The event was attended by a team of 15 senior officers from Kochi-headquartered Southern Naval Command, the Army and the Air Force besides top officials from iDEX, the release said.

Also present were deep-tech startups from across Kerala and representatives from the industry.

Hailing the quality of the startups at Maker Village, Rear Admiral Nadkarni said the companies are leveraging state-of-the-art technologies.

Of late, we are moving towards indigenisation in all spheres, he noted at the function at the Integrated Startup Complex in Kalamassery, 20 km north of this city.

There are certain technologies which nobody in the world would like to part with. A programme like the iDEX can thus be of immense benefit to the nation. It also boosts employment opportunities in the country,” he said.

Rear Admiral Nadkarni, stressing the need for stronger education, invited domestic companies to contribute towards the requirements of the defence sector.

Confidence is the hallmark of a successful entrepreneur, who will never wilt if there are difficulties, he added.

There are two challenges India faces: improving economic complexity index and quickening the pace of technologies required for a stronger defence, he added.

Maker Village CEO Prasad Balakrishnan Nair described iDEX as a unique venture to marry two seemingly contradictory establishments.

While defence is synonymous with discipline, an ecosystem like Maker Village usually works amid random bouts of creativity. Yet both can be congruent, as you see here in iDEX. It is a giant leap, he said in the welcome address.

The objective of iDEX is to facilitate rapid development of new, indigenised and innovative technologies for the Indian defence and aerospace sector.

It also seeks to meet the needs for these sectors in shorter timelines and create a culture of engagement with innovative startups by encouraging co-creation for defence and aerospace sectors.


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