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Army Chief Attends Maharashtra MSME Defence Expo 2024 in Pune

General Pande underscored the Indian Army's focus on leveraging both MSMEs and the Start-Up ecosystem as part of the Atmanirbharta (self-reliance) pursuit to meet capability development requirements.

The Maharashtra MSME Defence Expo 2024 witnessed a momentous occasion as Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande graced the event with his presence at the International Exhibition Convention Centre in Moshi, Pune on February 26, 2024.

Organized by the Government of Maharashtra, the expo served as a platform to showcase the indigenous capabilities and innovations of MSMEs, private companies, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratories, and Defence Public Sector Unit (DPSU) setups in Maharashtra.

In his keynote address to MSMEs and students present at the expo, General Manoj Pande lauded Maharashtra’s significant contributions to the nation’s economy, industrial growth, exports, and attractiveness for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

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He highlighted Maharashtra’s pioneering role as the first state in India to formulate a Defence Manufacturing Policy following the opening up of the defence sector to private investment.

Additionally, Maharashtra’s declaration of Aerospace and Defence manufacturing as a thrust sector in the ‘Package Scheme of Incentives’ has propelled the state to contribute over 20% to the country’s output in aircraft, ships, and boats, and 30% to the national output in weapons and ammunition, reflecting a strategic vision towards promoting the Defence Industrial Sector.

Speaking about India’s economic growth trajectory, General Pande emphasized the nation’s improved consumer affluence, better standards of living, higher literacy quotient, and rising aspirations of its citizens.

He commended the efforts of government agencies and armed forces in policy reforms, skilling initiatives, infrastructure investment, digital potential, and frontline entrepreneurship, highlighting their commitment to sustainable development and the promise of being reliable supply chain stakeholders.

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General Pande underscored the Indian Army’s focus on leveraging both MSMEs and the Start-Up ecosystem as part of the Atmanirbharta (self-reliance) pursuit to meet capability development requirements. He elaborated on the Innovations in Defence Excellence (iDEX) procurement, where all projects are mandated to progress through Start-Ups.

Currently, 55 Indian Army projects worth Rs 400 Crores are being pursued under the iDEX route, involving a total of 65 Start-Ups. Notably, four contracts worth Rs 70 Crores have been concluded for the procurement of equipment in limited quantity for field exploitation.

Highlighting the Indian Army’s commitment to innovation, General Pande mentioned the Army’s in-house Ideas & Innovation initiative, citing examples of innovations like VIDYUT RAKSHAK – an Internet of Things (IoT) based generator protection system, and a biomedical device.

He emphasized the Army’s pursuit of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) for products developed in collaboration with the industry, with 66 IPRs filed to date, including 13 Patents, 05 Copyrights, and 05 Design Registrations granted.

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During the expo, the Indian Army showcased its indigenous equipment and systems, including Tank T-90, BMP Mk-II, Soltam Gun, Dhanush Howitzer, K-9 Vajra, Pinaka Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher, Sarvatra Bridge System, Schilka Gun, and Fly Catcher Radar of Army Air Defence, among others.

General Manoj Pande also engaged with participating industries, encouraging them to align their products and services with the future requirements of the Indian Army. He urged collective contribution towards the aspirations, goals, and objectives of a Rising India, emphasizing the resolve and commitment to Atmanirbharta (self-reliance).

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Pratham Gurung
Pratham Gurung
An avid movie buff who aspires to make it into the armed forces. Always had a knack for words so reading and writing are my favourite hobbies. Can debate on anything but not everything.
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