CHSS Interns attend Indo-Us Defence Ties Conference

CHSS interns attend conference on Indo-Us Defence Ties organized by US Embassy in Hyderabad

The Consulate General of the United States of America in Hyderabad organised a two-day conference on India-US defence ties from 18th-19th December, 2019. A delegation from the Centre for Human Security Studies, headed by Dr. Ramesh Kanneganti was also invited to be privy to the conference.
The second day kicked off with welcome address by Mr. Joel Reifman, Consul General, US Consulate General, Hyderabad. He pointed out the importance of the dialogue and briefly appreciated the 2+2 dialogue between India and United States, that was concluded a day ago. His address was followed by three panel discussions.

Emerging Technology Solutions for Co-production

The first panel included representatives of reputed companies like Honeywell International, Geomardy and MIDHANI. The panellists stressed on the importance of rare earth materials for the defence sector. It was mentioned that China has a stronghold and monopoly on rare earth materials like Cobalt, which are very essential for the aeronautic engines. Panellists wanted India to adopt a policy of import substitution in this regard, to reduce the dependence of exports of these quintessential elements.

Training and Capacity Building

The significance of human resources in every segment of production remains undisputed. While it is important to innovate, it is also necessary to equip the potential labour with the skills to operate and maintain new products of the industry. With this in the backdrop, the second panel consisted of HR experts from the top echelons of companies like Pratt and Whitney and Belcan India Private Limited. The members of the panel stressed on the need for an academia-industry nexus, so that the innovations in the labour market are translated into the education sector. Dr. V. Yoga Jyotsna, Dean of Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, particularly spoke about the curriculum and syllabi on Indian colleges and universities. She urged the stakeholders to amend the syllabi so as to make teaching more realistic.

Invest in Andhra: Minister Goutham Reddy

The conference also witnessed the presence of Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy, Minister for Industries, Commerce, Information Technology. His address to the delegates brought out the nitty-gritties of India’s Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) and need to invest in Andhra Pradesh. Later in the conference, the minister asked Mr. Ashwani Bhargava, Director-Supply Chain Management, Boeing India, about their decision to choose Hyderabad as an investment destination. Mr. Bhargava responded by pointing out the demand in the city, existing human expertise and capacity. He also mentioned about plans to expand their reach. The Minister urged the members of the conference to consider investing in Andhra Pradesh and that the state would receive them with open arms.

Start-ups in the Indian Defence Ecosystem

While industrial giants have a competitive edge in their respective industries, the budding start-ups have a difficult time overcoming the infant challenges. However, the role of start-ups in the Indian defence sector remains indisputable. They form an important part of supply change and vale addition. This was reiterated in the conference as the third panel spoke about the current trends in the MSME Defence sector. While most of the panellists agreed that the

Questioning the absence of space for think tanks

While a lot was said in the conference about the role of various stakeholders in the defence ties and national security, think tanks did not find a mention. Dr Ramesh Kanneganti, Founder and Executive Director of Centre for Human Security Studies, raised this in a question to a panel, to which most of the panellists did not respond. One of them responded by accepting the importance of think tanks but pointed out the lack of such organisations in India. However, a member of IDSA from the audience rightly pointed out that several think tanks in India and actively working in the strategic defence domain, and such work should be considered for collaboration.

The Conference ended with remarks by Mr. Reifman and Rear Admiral Anil Kumar Verma, Principal Advisor, Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM). The delegates proceeded for a networking lunch and all of them took away valuable insights.

By Sravya Vemuri