Jammu: Chief of Staff, Northern Command Lieutenant General Anindya Sengupta Wednesday stated that the ensuing North Tech Symposium would “become a harbinger for intertwining and synergising the requirements of the Indian army with the potential and capabilities of the academia and the industry.”
The Defence Minister, Minister of Technology, Lieutenant Governors of the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Chief of Army Staff and a host of senior army officers will attend the event.
The three-day event will be held from September 11 to 13, 2023.
He made these remarks during a North Tech Symposium 2023- curtain raiser media brief here at IIT Jammu. Director IIT Jammu, DG SIDM and Advisor to DG SIDM accompanied him during the presser.
Lt Gen Sengupta said that the operational and logistics challenges confronting Northern Command necessitated customised, dedicated solutions.
“While Northern Command has taken big strides in the past years to bridge the gap between what we have and what we need, this year's North Tech Symposium is a giant leap reinforcing this endeavour. This is an annual event conducted in Northern Command since its inception in 2005. In its earlier Avataar, this event was organised as a combination of equipment and idea or innovations display, however, over the years it has been restructured to promote state of the art Defence Technology and encourage “Atamnirbharta (self-reliance),” he said.
Emphasising upon the theme of this year's event "Synergy in research, development and innovation for modernisation of the military”, Lt Gen Sengupta said, “We seek to address our “needs” through an inclusive approach, bringing the Indian Army, defence industry and academia onto a collaborative platform.”
He said that North Tech Symposium 2023 was unique in the sense that major activities were being held at the IIT Jammu campus. “Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), a nonprofit association, formed as the apex body of the Indian Defence Industry under the umbrella of Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), has done wonders in garnering the registration of nearly 200 industry partners and 50 startups for the event,” he informed.
Towards capability development of the Northern Command, a variety of weapon platforms and equipment were procured under the ambit of Army Commander's Special Financial Powers (ACSFP) and Other Capital Procurement Procedure (OCPP). Additionally, major impetus had also been given to upgradations, overhauls, modifications and refurbishment of existing equipment to restore or enhance the operational capability besides giving them a fresh lease of life, Lt Gen Sengupta said.
He said that the current annual budget towards these efforts was of the order of Rs 1,000 crore and increasing. “Northern Command has also commenced reaching out to academic institutes and has started evolving problem statements towards meaningful requirement-oriented research with the academia.
Lt Gen Sengupta pointed out that the modernization plan of the defence forces was focussed on capability development through 'Self-reliant defence eco system' following the Make-In-India pursuit.
“The Indian Army is a major participant in the ‘Make In India’ initiative to transform itself into a modern, Atmanirbhar and technology advanced force. Northern Command with its focus on operation has itself remained at the forefront of this drive,” he said.
Maj Gen SBK Singh, MGGS (Staff Duties & Capability Development), HQ Northern Command, while briefing the media about the significance of upcoming events said that in the recent past, imaginative and offensive exploitation of technology challenged the status quo in the battlefield. In keeping with these developments, in the ensuing years, the existing and emerging technologies would fundamentally change future military operations.
“There is therefore a need to focus on developing robust indigenous solutions for all needs of the Indian army particularly in the fields of fire power, mobility, force preservation, situation awareness, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare. While there is a need to imbibe and adopt modern technology, it is imperative that existing in-service equipment gets sustained through essential interventions, upgrades and refurbishments to infuse fresh life in critical weapon platforms and equipment such as Armoured Fighting Vehicles, equipment of engineer origin, electronic warfare, surveillance and force preservation,” Maj Gen Singh said.
He said that the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” initiative provided the much-needed impetus to help India transform from being the largest importer of weapon systems to becoming a manufacturing powerhouse and net exporter of defence related products. The resultant boost to indigenous small and medium manufacturers and much greater all-around emphasis to Indigenous Research and Development (IR&D) had become highly visible.
“Northern Command too has benefited from the self-reliance (Atmanirbhar) drive. Majority of equipment and weapon requirements and upgrades are being met via delegated powers through the ACSFP and the OCPP routes,” he said.
Detailing about the highlights of the 2023 edition of North Tech, he informed that there would be an exhibition of latest products by over 200 industry partners on various technologies with special encouragement to start ups.
“One on one structured interaction with industry representatives and the academia to bridge the gap between requirements and capabilities; a technical seminar to invigorate fertile minds through exchange of novel ideas and concepts with contributions from the defence industry, academia and the army; an idea and innovations display by students and the army to acknowledge and applaud the spirit of innovation at all levels would be its highlights,” Maj Gen Singh said.
Besides, there will be a military equipment display by the armed forces to acquaint the industry partners, the academia and the general public for a hands-on experience and foster nationalistic fervour.
Product launches by Industry partners, typical to the requirements of the armed forces will be another highlight.
“The North Tech Symposium 2023 will thus be an exercise co-opting the potential of the minds of the academia, the innovative thinking of our young entrepreneurs- Start Ups, the financial and manufacturing might of our defence industrial base to meet the operational requirements of Indian army in general and Northern Command in particular,” he said.