A Follow up on

Shaastra Summit Defence 
Happy Deepawali!
May the festival of lights which ultimately celebrates victory of good over evil bring joy to your families and friends.  
I am celebrating Deepawali by bringing forth an update on the Defence Technology Summit being conducted by students of IIT Madras as part of Shaastra 2020 ( mostly in their own words.

The Defence Technology Summit is on track and will be held in IIT Madras from 3-5 Jan 2019.    
Defence Innovation Challenge
The response for the flagship event – the Defence Innovation Challenge has been terrific. Over 700 participants have registered themselves to participate in this event. To remind everyone, the Challenges will be in the field of defense on three tracks AI, Robotics and AR/VR,
To design a swarm of 5 ground-bound robots working, using a collaborative efficient algorithm and mesh communication system in a dynamic obstacle environment
Artificial Intelligence
To build an end to end NLP analysis application to detect, classify and translate audio from various 
Augmented and Virtual Reality
Augmented and Virtual Reality based high fidelity aircraft training simulator for training pilots on a selected or generic fixed/rotary wing aircraft in various terrains and flying conditions with near realistic feel of flying profiles such as valley flying, low level flying, basic air combat, night flying ( moon light conditions and dark night conditions) etc , integrated with georeferenced satellite pictures and terrain maps.

While the response has been heartwarming for the competition, the organizing students are still awaiting a sponsor from Industry for the Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Track. For the first time the best and brightest youth of our nation are putting their mind to real life problems as defined by Armed Forces.  I am quite hopeful that the Industry will respond by coming forward to sponsor the Augmented Reality Challenge since the IPR will be theirs! If they do not, the Indian Industry and MOD cannot blame anyone except themselves if the Indian Armed Forces procure this technology from abroad after a long delay at a huge cost multiple. Prospective sponsors can contact the student organising committee for further details.
Shaastra and the International Summit
The Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE) has indicated that it will participate in the event. That is great news for the students. They now await other technical institutions of the Army , Navy and Air Force to come forward to participate.
The Summit Highlights
The Summit promises to be very interesting in many ways. Discussion  with the students indicate that “the sphere of defence is in the mezzo of a massive revolution driven by technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Computer Vision and Machine Learning”, and they want to enter into this field and make the Summit a platform for start-ups, professionals and students interested in the field of defence technology. It augurs well for India. The broad events of the summit are as under. 
Keynote Address. The key note address will be delivered by Dr G Sateesh Reddy, the current Chairman of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Director General of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).  
The Defence Start-up Ecosystem in India – The Way Forward. There will be a panel discussion on the topic to kickstart and encourage our best and brightest to get into the field of defence startups. Panelists will include professionals from start-ups and government officials from the Ministry of Defence so that all angles are covered. 
The Importance Of UAVs In A Modern Defence System. Students envisage that future warfare will involve more technology and fewer humans. They feel that the world awakened to the immense potential of UAVs in the development of a truly unmanned force. With China making rapid strides in this field it is imperative that India must prioritize UAV development. This issue will be discussed in detail.  
The BrahMos Missile. The BrahMos missile became the first missile in the world to be tested at supersonic speeds in a steep-dive mode and it immediately captured the imagination of the Indian public. The participants will be exposed to this missile system.
 CounterterrorismIn the 21stcentury, the world is incessantly at war with the forces of terror and the primary purpose of armies’ world around is to keep the forces of terror at bay. Thus, counterterrorism is a major component of defence. Technology can augment the battle against terror and it will go a long way in the protection of our country. Hence a fireside chat on counter terrorism and its connect with technology in operations is being organized.
Advances and The Future of War Game Simulations in Indian Defence Systems. The impossibility of implementing a military tactic or policy before proper testing is the basis behind the field of war game simulations. The more operational realism a war game or simulation confirms to, the less will be the deviation from expected results during implementation. Participants will be exposed to the world of war games simulations in India.
Information Warfare. The next World War may not be fought on land but through computers, smartphones and social networks. Information and data form one of the cornerstones of modern warfare. The ability to protect data is as much a necessity as that to extract it. This will be discussed in detail.
Disruption of Defence Technology  By AI . Defence technology is in the throes of a seismic shift brought about by the development of AI and robotics. The incorporation of AI into the design of defence systems is an absolute necessity to improve performance and develop a truly autonomous fighting force which can minimize the threat to human life during such operations. Thus, the disruption of the defence sector by AI seems inevitable and it is the need of the hour for defence technology start-ups and manufacturers to prepare for the same. There will be a panel discussion on this issue.
Cyber Security Workshop. The security of data pertaining to a defence system is of paramount importance. To acquaint the participants with the nuances of cyber security and data protection a cyber security workshop is on the cards.
 Cryptographic ‘Enigma’ Game. The importance of decoding encrypted data has been a part of the defence sector since times immemorial. The purpose of Enigma Game is to showcase the perennial importance of encryption and decryption techniques in defence systems.
The Defence Expo
A Defence Expo is  being organised. It will be an exhibition of the products of nascent defence technology start-ups, established manufacturers and the military. It will be conducted over the course of the 3 days of the Summit. it will introduce participants to the nuances of various products in the industry and serve as a networking platform for start-ups to obtain mentors, inspire college students to join the defence sector and provide them with internships. The Expo will be open to the general Shaastra audience on all 3 days. A large footfall of nearly 75,000 is anticipated.
The Summit participants will be given the opportunity to visit the Kattupalli Shipyard of L&T on 6th of January
The registrationsfor the Defence Tech Summit have already begun on the Shaastra website – The students have an early bird offer on registration fees too!  It is valid till the 29th of October.
Personal Views
This is certainly a great initiative by the students. The entire canvas of disruptive technologies and their impact on warfare is being covered. Essentially they are talking of Disruption in Military Affairs. Very farsighted indeed. They have surprised me with this trait of balanced farsightedness at every turn of this prospective event from the time they approached me to guide them to organise it. I think it is up to all Defence Industry professionals to come forward and make this event a success. Since it is in the success of such embryonic events that success of India lies. All defence industry professionals and Defence Start ups may get in touch with the organisers of Shaastra to participate in the event.


  1. Seems to be an exciting event for Technical Students and young Engineers and Entrepreneurs. I am happy that a senior officer of Artillery has ventured into the academic world of Technology in IIT to build bridges between Institutions of higher education and the user like Indian Army. Wishing you all the best for the success of the forthcoming event under your leadership.

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