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India’s defense sector is gearing up for a significant transformation as it seeks to boost private sector participation in research and development (R&D). The Ministry of Defence is exploring new avenues to fund private sector-led R&D initiatives through an Advanced Defence Acquired Research (ADAR) scheme. This initiative aims to facilitate disruptive research projects, with funding support for projects up to ?500 crore, led by the private industry. The government agencies, including the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), will provide technical expertise to ensure the success of these endeavors.

Private sector participation in the defense industry has long been a focus area for the Indian government. In recent years, significant policy reforms, such as the “Make in India” initiative and the “Strategic Partnership” model, have sought to enhance indigenous defense production. However, to further strengthen India’s defense capabilities and reduce reliance on imports, fostering private sector-led R&D is crucial.

The Advanced Defence Acquired Research (ADAR) scheme represents a fresh and innovative approach to driving private sector-led R&D in the defense sector. Under this scheme, private industry players will lead R&D projects with a budget of up to 500 crore. The government is keen to provide the necessary financial support to encourage the private sector to invest in cutting-edge research.

To ensure the success of these R&D projects, the government will facilitate collaboration with organizations like the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). DRDO has a rich legacy of research and innovation in the defense sector, and its technical expertise will be invaluable in guiding and mentoring private industry-led projects. This collaboration will lead to knowledge sharing, skill development, and a holistic approach to research.

The Innovation for Defence Excellence (iDEX) and Defence Technology Startup (DTIS) initiatives have received notable attention and funding under the ADAR scheme. iDEX and DTIS have been allocated ?116 crore and ?45 crore, respectively, representing a substantial enhancement of 93% for iDEX and 95% for DTIS over the previous fiscal year. This financial injection will empower these initiatives to support startups and innovators in the defense sector.

Financial support is a key driver for private sector participation in R&D projects. Under the iDEXscheme, the increased grant amount of ?10 crore per grant will provide a significant boost to R&D initiatives. This increase in funding will encourage private players to undertake ambitious projects and invest in state-of-the-art technologies.

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