By: Lt Col JS Sodhi (Retd), Editor, GSDN
The Northern Command of the Indian Army jointly organised the North Tech Symposium (NTS) 2023 along with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Jammu and the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) from September 11-13, 2023 in IIT Jammu which successfully showcased the Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self Reliant India) and Make in India initiatives announced by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon after he assumed office as India’s Prime Minister in May 2014.
The three day well-organised and well-conducted Symposium which was inaugurated by Lieutenant General MV Suchindra Kumar, AVSM, YSM**, VSM, Vice Chief of Army Staff had over 180 firms participating with their defence equipment which were all Made in India.
The inauguration ceremony of NTS 2023 was held on September 11, 2023 which also had the presence of Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi, AVSM, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Northern Command, Dr Anurag Mishra, Dean IIT Jammu and Mr SP Shukla, President SIDM amongst other dignitaries which included Army Officers, Academia and the Defence Industry.
The VCOAS in his inaugural address stated the importance of technology prowess in national defence preparedness. Dean IIT Jammu stated that the IIT will be a hub for translational research and it has been collaborating with the Northern Command of the Indian Army for developing better weapon systems, while the President SIDM remarked that such a symposium is being held in an academic institution for the first time since its inception 15 years ago and the Indian Defence Industry has come a long way in the last one decade in consonance with the vision of the Government of India.
The objectives of the NTS 2023 were fully met with the successful conduct of the symposium. The objectives of the symposium were to engage with the academia and industry to identify unique/customised solutions to meet the operational requirements of the Northern Army, as also to provide a platform to the original equipment manufacturers/vendors to showcase the existing products and to undertake new launches. The objectives also included promotion of inclusive Atmanirbharta in defence production and technology proliferation by encouraging startups and MSMEs, to create an effective ecosystem for knowledge diffusion on contemporary defence technologies and to enhance the technological knowledge threshold of the participants through joint Army-Industry-Academia participation.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Indian Armed Forces, General Anil Chauhan, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM visited the NTS 2023 on September 11, 2023 and in the media interaction spoke of the importance of technology and tactics in modern warfare. On a query by the author of this article on how the Indian Armed Forces view the quality and efficiency of the weapon systems Made in India as compared to the foreign made weapon systems, the CDS replied that strict quality assurance is being done through DGQA.
Mr Rajnath Singh, the Defence Minister of India visited NTS 2023 on September 12, 2023 and appreciated the weapon systems displayed and said that the defence manufacturing sector in India is imaginative and innovative.
The third day of NTS 2023 ie September 13, 2023 was thrown open to the public and the public visited the Symposium in large numbers to get a real time feel of the weapon systems of the Indian Armed Forces.
The Symposium was organised on a large scale in IIT Jammu, under the stewardship of Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, AVSM, drew huge applause from the industry and the IIT Students. Large number of students could participate due to proximity and accessibility. Conception, design and conduct of the Symposium 2023 will go a long way in supporting indigenous industry in establishing Defence manufacturing ecosystem.
North Tech Symposium was a great platform for the Army-Industry-Academia to interact which will go a long way to enhance the combat potential of the Indian Army, which is rated as one of the finest armies of the world. The event conducted from 11-13 Sep was a resounding success and should pave the way for more collaboration.