IIT Madras students to organize Defence Tech Summit focusing on disruptive technologies

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Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras students will be conducting the first-ever ‘Defence Tech Summit,’ to be organised entirely by students of an Indian Educational Institution, from 3rd to 5th January 2020 as a part of Shaastra.

The Summit aims to contribute to indigenisation of defence technology in a major way. Shaastra is the annual technical festival of IIT Madras and is entirely student–run. It is the first in the country to get an ISO certification. It receives an annual footfall of over 50,000 and serves as a medium for networking and knowledge exchange.

A major objective of this Summit is to showcase and boost the defence start-up ecosystem by providing a networking forum and to enlighten the youth about opportunities in this rapidly advancing field. Registrations for the Summit are now open. For Registration and further information – https://summit.shaastra.org

Each year, Shaastra is conducted based on a central theme aimed at boosting unconventional, upcoming fields of technology to understand the manner in which the students of IIT Madras, can positively impact the field and help the country.

Highlighting the importance of ‘Defence Tech Summit 2020,’ Lt.Gen. P.R. Shankar (Retd), Professor of Practice, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIT Madras, who is guiding the students in organizing this summit, said, “Shaastra 2020 with its main theme of ‘defence technology’ is in direct response to the Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s call to IITs to contribute to the defence preparedness of the nation. It is indeed very creditable and farsighted on the part of IIT Madras students to have conceptualised this event in sync with the requirements of time in consultation with the Armed Forces. It is a very important event since it is focusing on tomorrow’s defence technologies. I wish the students the very best in their endeavours in conducting this landmark event.”

The Summit will serve as a platform for students, amateurs, enthusiasts, and professionals from all over the country to unite, ideate, network and deliberate upon various fields of defence technology. It will host an eminent set of dignitaries from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Armed forces and the private defence sector along with workshops on the latest innovations in the field, panel discussions, exhibition of state-of-the-art defence technologies and models made by defence manufacturers and PSUs.

Speaking about the national stand on advancements in Defence Technology, Prof S. Christopher, Former Secretary (Defence R&D) and Former Chairman of DRDO, and currently, a Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras, who is also guiding the organising team, said, “The Indian Government is determined and committed to ensure ‘Make in India’ is a reality and hence the government departments and Indian industries are poised to make a turnaround in the indigenous defence production leading even to export’.

Prof. Christopher added that, ‘Shaastra with its maiden ‘Defence Tech Summit’ will do good in bringing awareness amongst the students!”

The Defence Tech Summit will also host a Defence Expo during Shaastra wherein Defence manufacturers and trailblazing startups will get to showcase their products. The Summit participants will also get a chance to undergo an educational visit to Kattupalli Shipyard, a multi-acre Shipyard cum Captive Port-complex maintained by L&T with state-of-the-art facilities for ship-building and repairs.

Speaking about the role that students play in the field of Defence Technology, Mr. Siddharth Aedavalli, Student Core Team Member – Shaastra, IIT Madras, said, “Technologies such as UAVs and AI, among others, are changing the landscape of the defence industry. As students we can utilise our inquisitiveness, pragmatic and out of the box approach to come up with innovative solutions to problems encountered by the Armed Forces. Shaastra wants to promote the participation of students in this untouched field and contribute towards national security.”

The field of defence continuously drives new innovations that have a significant impact on everyone’s lives. Cutting edge technology like AI, IoT and UAVs hold much promise for defence applications. Threats of terrorism and cyber warfare also need to be addressed with tech-driven solutions. This has propelled Shaastra to contribute to the cause by organising the Defence Tech Summit so as to bring its participants up to speed on the latest advancements in defence technology.

As part of the Defence Tech Summit, the students are also organizing ‘Defence Innovation Challenge,’ a four-month long competition that urges participants to ideate and come up with tech-based solutions in the field of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Virtual Reality to solve real world problems faced by the Indian Armed Forces.

This event is being conducted in consultation with HQ Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) and in collaboration with L&T Defence, L&T-Nxt, and Newspace Research and Technologies.

The Summit is likely to witness addresses by important dignitaries in the defence sector including Lt. Gen. Satish Dua, former Chief of Integrated Defence Staff who was also involved in planning sensitive military operations, is scheduled to speak on Counter-Terrorism technologies. Mr. J.D. Patil, Whole-time Director, and Senior Executive Vice President ((Defence, L&T-NxT)) is scheduled to speak on intricacies of entering the defense technology arena.

Requests

The Shaastra Team requests all serving and retired members of the Armed Forces and officials of the Ministry of Defence, Government of India, and Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) to participate and guide the students in the event. This event is dedicated to the Armed Forces.

The Shaastra Team also requests maximum participation of the defence industry in the event to showcase their capabilities and also to motivate students to take up defence technology as a career option. All defence start-ups are specially requested to come forward and participate in the event so that the defence start-up ecosystem in the country is put on track.