SES 2010 explores opportunities in strategic electronics

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With active participation by top brass of defence forces and MM Pallam Raju, minister of state for defence as well as co-sponsorship by department of IT, Government of India, ELCINA, organised the Strategic Electronics Summit (SES) 2010 at Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. The objective of the event was to highlight the importance and opportunities in strategic electronics and to bring the defence and aerospace sectors within the reach of a large number of Indian companies, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The event was supported by many public and private organisations including Bharat Electronics Ltd, C-DOT, Electronic Corporation of India, Tata Power and National Instruments. There were over 60 participating companies and 150 delegates at the event with keen interest in strategic electronics sector.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the conference, Pallam Raju said, “There were serious challenges to be met with respect to defence security and to achieve this all stakeholders would have to be team players. Today the defence establishment and Government of India were neither elusive nor exclusive. They were prepared to work closely with industry to meet the tough and growing requirements of Indian defence.”

A number of policy initiatives were being taken by the Ministry of Defence, which led to the revision of the defence procurement policy in 2008 and 2009 to meet requirements of industry and make the 

procurement process efficient and transparent. Pallam Raju informed the gathering that the value of offset policy contracts during the current five year plan would exceed Rs 100 billion.

It is widely believed that the defence offset policy offers a huge opportunity to Indian companies to become a part of the global supply chain for defence and aerospace products.

Rakesh Singh, additional secretary, Department of IT (DIT), while addressing the gathering apprised industry about the steps being proposed to focus on strategic electronics within the overall offset policy. “The growth in hardware manufacturing was stable but far from satisfactory,” he stated.

Singh also added that a sound base of strategic electronics manufacturing was necessary from the national security angle. “We must focus on high technology areas. DIT was of the firm belief that such a focus would kick start electronics manufacturing in the country and have a multiplier effect by increased investments which could be utilised for all segments of electronics including telecommunications, industrial and IT,” he said.

Lt Gen. Partha Mohapatra, signal officer-in-chief, Army HQ, also addressed the delegates and apprised of the major projects such as new-gen networks, broadband wireless access, CDMA for wireless solutions and IP encryption systems, which are being executed for establishing reliable and secure communication systems for defence operations. He said, “Electronics is a key part of all defence systems and a great enabler for our war waging capacity.”

Some of the other key participating companies included Boeing, Amphenol, Avalon Technologies, Mahindra Defence and a large number of SMEs who are engaged in the defence supply chain. Key ELCINA functionaries also spoke at the conference and shared their experiences with the defence officials about the challenges faced by Indian SMEs and recommended solutions.

There is a shift towards ‘develop and make models’ vis-à-vis the previous ‘buy and make’ policy. The Ministry of Defence is committed to promote self reliance by identifying strategic sector requirements well in advance and developing the technology and products on a long term basis.

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