New Delhi: The number of start-ups working in the defence and aerospace sector in India are now in the thousands and they are into all kinds of manufacturing and development activities, according to Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and former DRDO chief Dr G Satheesh Reddy.

"Startups working in defence and aerospace technologies also have gone into thousands today. Youngsters (in age bracket of 23-25 years) are working," Reddy said in an exclusive interview with ANI.

"Startup is now a movement in the country...phenomenal growth the way the number of startups have come up in the country,"

The number of startups all put together about a decade ago was a bare minimum.

"Youngsters are working on various components, spare parts, new technologies which are required - propulsion systems, new engine-related technologies. Startups are working in multiple directions. It is one of important change which has come in the country, which will take India into a new dimension," he said during the interview.

He particularly mentioned about the iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence) of the Department Of Defence Production, which was introduced with a primary objective of self-reliance and indigenization defence sector needs.

Budgetary support of Rs 498.8 crore for five years (2021-22 to 2025-26) to provide financial support to nearly 300 startups/MSMEs/innovators was allocated for iDEX.

"Industries have come up in a big way...Private industries are now developing missiles, bombs and radars," he further said.

Reddy added that India has become self-sufficient in missile technology with a wide range of missiles in its arsenal, and global restriction regimes helped it achieve self-reliance.

"Indian missile programme has gone a long way and a number of missile systems have been developed. Varieties of missiles have been developed. Surface-to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles and air-to-air missiles, anti-tank missiles, and many other varieties of missiles which have been developed io the country. The country has gained a lot of knowledge and has become, I say that, self-sufficient and self-reliant in missile technology today by developing all these varieties of missiles. Range of missiles that any nation would like to have based on their necessities, the country has developed all these."

Expressing confidence in the indigenization of the country's missile program, Dr Reddy said that India is not dependent for any critical components on any other country today.

"Today I can say that the indigenous content in our missile programme is very, very high. I can definitely say that we are not dependent for any critical sub-systems and things like that on anyone. All these things are developed in the country and the industry is able to produce them and that's how the missiles are getting developed very fast...," he said.