Chief of Army Staff visits Maharashtra MSME Defence Expo 2024 at Pune

Chief of Army Staff, General Manoj Pande, visited the Maharashtra Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Defence Expo 2024 at the International Exhibition Convention Centre, Moshi, Pune, on 26th February 2024. Organized by the Government of Maharashtra, the expo showcased the indigenous capabilities and innovations of MSMEs, private companies, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratories, and Defence Public Sector Unit (DPSU) setups in the state.

General Manoj Pande lauded Maharashtra’s significant contributions to the nation’s economy, industrial growth, exports, and FDI attractiveness in his keynote address to the MSMEs and students. The state, the first in India to frame a Defence Manufacturing Policy after permitting private investment in the defence sector, has declared Aerospace and Defence manufacturing as a thrust sector in the ‘Package Scheme of Incentives.’ Maharashtra has contributed over 20% to the country’s aircraft, ships, and boats output and 30% to the national production of weapons and ammunition.

Highlighting India’s economic growth, General Pande mentioned improved consumer affluence, better living standards, higher literacy quotient, and rising aspirations of citizens. He commended the government agencies and armed forces for their commitment to sustainable development and being reliable stakeholders in the supply chain. General Pande emphasized the Indian Army’s focus on leveraging MSMEs and the Start-Up ecosystem as part of the Atmanirbharta pursuit. Under the Innovations in Defence Excellence (iDEX) procurement, 55 Indian Army projects worth Rs 400 Cr are being pursued through 65 Start-Ups. Four contracts worth Rs 70 Cr have been concluded, following the Spiral Mode of development, enabling concurrent equipment development based on user recommendations.

Speaking about the Indian Army’s in-house Ideas & Innovation initiative, General Pande highlighted innovations such as ‘VIDYUT RAKSHAK’, an IoT-based generator protection system, and a biomedical device. He also emphasized the Army’s pursuit of Intellectual Property Rights, with 66 IPRs filed, including 13 Patents, 05 Copyrights, and 05 Design Registrations granted. During the expo, the Indian Army showcased 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, Fly Catcher Radar of Army Air Defence, Tavor, Sig Sauer & M4 Assault Rifles, AK-47, Sniper Rifles, and various other weapons and equipment. General Pande interacted with participating industries, encouraging them to align their products and services with the future requirements of the Indian Army.