The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has approved budgetary support of $68.09m (Rs4.98bn) to Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) – Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO).

This financial support will be provided for the next five years. It will boost the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ initiative.

It will support approximately 300 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and individual innovators, as well as 20 partner incubators under the DIO framework.

The Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) framework seeks to harness local small businesses and academia to support the ‘Make in India’ programme in the defence domain.

According to the MoD, the iDEX framework creation and DIO establishment by the Department of Defence Production (DDP) is aimed to form an innovation and technology development ecosystem in defence and aerospace.

This development can be created by engaging industries, including the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, start-ups, individual innovators. It will provide them grants and other support to carry out research and development.

The MoD in a statement said: “The DDP will release funds to DIO for setting up and managing the iDEX network in the form of Partner Incubators (PIs); communicating with innovators / start-ups / technology centres of MSMEs through the PIs, including the PIs of Department of Science and Technology regarding defence and aerospace needs; organising various challenges / hackathons to shortlist potential technologies and entities and evaluating technologies and products developed by developed by innovators / start-ups in terms of their utility and impact on the defence and aerospace setup.”