Forum on Hi-Tech Defence Innovation: Overview
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  • IDSA is organising the first meeting of the Forum on Hi-Tech Defence Innovation on 14 July, 2011 - to brainstorm on how to upgrade the technological levels of the Indian economy and defence industry sector and reduce India’s dependence on high-tech imports. The Forum-Roundtable is bringing together senior experts and officials from Government agencies, the Armed Forces, Research Entities, the High-tech Production Sector of the economy, both public and private and the Educational sector.

    This year, India expects to procure, mostly from abroad, billions of dollars worth of defence equipment, anticipated to rise to US $50 billion over the next few years. India is also faced with a looming trade deficit as a huge proportion of high-tech requirements in other sectors is imported, which even the Commerce Ministry feels is unsustainable. If Indian manufacturers are to benefit from the expected offsets and launch a high-tech manufacturing revolution, India has to take many pro-active measures to reform its national innovation system and create a broad-based dual-use manufacturing base.

    The potential of defence sector reforms and the easing of restrictions on transfers of high technology to India will be a focus of discussions as these provide the opening for India to elaborate its own dynamic national innovation ecosystem. Comparing the Indian system with other major high-tech defense industrial powers would also yield insights into relevant reforms needed in the Indian context.

    The Forum/ Roundtable will discuss the gaps in capabilities and recommend essential reforms and partnerships required to develop a robust national innovation system in India.

    Based on the discussions, the Forum-Roundtable will also aim to eventually bring out a draft National Technology Policy which will be placed on the web site for discussion, as well as a suggested road map for reform and implementation of essential measures to create a dynamic and sustainable national innovation ecosystem. Excellent speakers and experts will be participating in this venture which aims at addressing a key issue in the National Security debate i.e. the need for India to build a high-tech economy. We look forward to your contribution and participation.

    Areas of focus in discussions:

    1. Do we have the domestic capabilities to develop the defence technologies that will be required to conduct warfare in the future?
    2. Why has India not yet developed into an innovative, high tech power?
    3. What are the organisations entrusted with R & D and how and why are they falling short?
    4. Systemic gaps and reforms required in Government?
    5. What has Indian industry achieved in investment in R & D, high-tech production and innovation?
    6. How can Indian industry help the country meet its targets for high tech defence production and what does it expect in the way of support?
    7. Are public private partnerships the most effective route for achieving these goals? How can they be optimized?
    8. How can SMEs be more involved in the high value production chain?
    9. What are the funding options for intensifying R & D efforts across sectors in the country?
    10. Is FDI a viable interim arrangement for enabling technology transfer -what policy environment is required?
    11. What is the role SMEs are playing in developing indigenous high technology and what support do they require?
    12. How is China building a system capable of delivering disruptive technological innovation?
    13. What are the lessons we can learn from other countries’ experience?
    14. Are offsets a viable tool for bringing in high-technology?
    15. Should we advocate indirect offsets as China and the East Europeans have done successfully?
    16. What role does civil-military integration play in other countries in delivering high-end technology and what lessons are there for India?
    17. What can India do to create a dual-use industrial infrastructure and civil military integration paradigm to foster high-tech defence production?
    18. What role does the education including vocational education system have to play in building a change in approach to research and innovation and fostering bottoms up innovation? Can funds generated through offsets be used for capacity development, apart from defence training?
    19. Recommendations –Action Plan

    Report of the Forum on Hi-Tech Defence Innovation, 14th July 2011