Bengaluru Air Show
Bengaluru Aero ShowNarendra Modi/Twitter

In a first, Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has won a US military contract that envisages research and development work on solar powered micro-grid.

The $52,900 contract, which involves developing solar powered micro-grid with battery and super capacitor energy storage system, has been awarded by the US Pacific Air Forces, Yokota Air Base in Japan, reports.

The announcement has come even as the Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is scheduled to meet US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter at the Pentagon on Thursday, 10 December, his first visit to the US to discuss strategic partnership between the US and India, reports PTI.

The contract bagged by an Indian research institute is bound to give a fillip to the Modi government's to cut down defence imports.

India, as has already been reported, has embarked on a mission to extend its ambitious "Make in India" campaign to the defence sector to shed its image of world's top defence importer.

"We have the reputation as the largest importer of defence equipment in the world. That may be music to the ears of some of you here. But this is one area where we would not like to be number one," he had said at the Aero Show in Bengaluru in February this year.

"We are reforming our defence procurement policies and there will be a clear preference for the equipment manufactured in India," he added.

A few days ago, India's Tata Group was reported to be gearing up for India's Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) programme worth about $15 billion. The Indian Army proposes to buy about 2,600 FICVs to replace its ageing fleet of Soviet-era BMP-1s and BMP-2s, IHS Jane's Defence Weekly had reported.

Tata Motors is spearheading the bid, with support from seven Group companies to develop and manufacture FICVs, if awarded the contract.

Reliance Infrastructure too wants to be a big player in the defence equipment sector in India, with reports saying it has applied for additional 16 defence industry licences, in addition to 12 Reliance group  companies securing approval from the Modi government to engage in defence production.

The new licences are being sought for making  explosives, small arms, electronic warfare, radars, amphibious vehicles and C4ISR systems, IHS Jane's Defence Weekly said.