Manohar Pledges Innovation Fund To Encourage Defence Start-Ups

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Bengaluru: The government will create a new technology innovation fund for defence aerospace aimed to prop up start-ups, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said while inaugurating the 11th Aero India show on Tuesday.

“We are initiating a defence innovation fund with an initial contribution from HAL and BEL,” Parrikar said referring to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), “ The fund will support innovation and technology development in identifying areas and will be open to both Indian and foreign firms,” Parrikar said. He hoped that the fund will propel start-ups.

“The focus will be on start-ups to enable a culture of innovation,” Parrikar said without specifying the quantum.

The government, he said, is committed to revitalizing public sector defence firms.
“The government is committed to an environment for defence. The PSUs are being revitalized,” he said adding the role of private sector is also being expanded.

He said additional steps are underway to support the role of private sector in defence manufacturing as is apparent from several licences given out to the private sector, which is a “clear indication of the trend”.

He said he also expects foreign defence manufacturers to invest in this space and while a lot of liberalization has taken place already “more steps in coming few months” will be taken.
Around 270 Indian and 279 foreign firms are participating in the Aero India show, Asia’s largest.

Parrikar opened the air show with a traditional lamp ceremony followed by fly past and air display by fighter jets including Sukhoi Rafale Tejas and F16s besides other military helicopters.

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