Will Drones ever fly in India?


Session: 6:30 PM TO 8:45 PM (IST)


Rapid improvements in autonomous vehicular technologies, artificial intelligence, robotics, cloud computing and concepts such as Machine to Machine learning, Internet of Things, augmented reality etc. have demonstrated that what the future has in store is limited only by our imagination. Such innovations promise to be both disruptive and revolutionary in terms of its impact on human autonomy and shaping the societies of tomorrow.

One such innovation is that of unmanned aerial vehicles known in common parlance as drones, the commercial usage of which not only has the potential of becoming a multi-billion dollar industry, but also promises far-reaching positive externalities in the economic and social spheres.

On November 02, 2017, the DGCA issued draft regulations on the civil use of drones to enable its commercial use for photography, doorstep delivery and other such commercial purposes, albeit with a plethora of regulatory constraints. The draft regulations open up many questions regarding the commercial feasibility of drone operations, freedom to experiment and innovate.

We cordially invite you to be a part of our Round Table + Webinar to engage in a dialogue on the various issues related to drones, internationally, as well as domestically, from a legal, tax and investment perspective. Please join us in our endeavor to anticipate and prepare for the future!

Focus Area

  • Insights on the draft drone regulations along with its limitations

  • Drone industry leaders - Embracing the idea

  • Legal, tax and investment perspectives

  • International benchmarks and lessons to learn

  • The road (flying) ahead

Flow of the session

6:30 PM–7:15 PM (IST) :


7:30 PM–8:30 PM (IST) :


8:30 PM–8:45 PM (IST) :


Interesting Reads

  • Unravelling the Future Game of Drones [You may access it here ]

  • The Future of Drones: Can they be legitimized [You may access it here ]

  • Preparing for a Driverless Future: Reshaping the Transportation landscape and conquering the Sky [ You may access it here ]

  • The Future is here: Artificial Intelligence and Robotics [ You may access it here ]



Founder & Managing Partner, Nishith Desai Associates

Nishith Desai is the founder of the research-based strategy driven international law firm, Nishith Desai Associates with offices in Mumbai, Silicon Valley, Bangalore, Singapore, Mumbai – BKC, New Delhi and Munich and New York.

Nishith himself is a renowned corporate, international tax, IP lawyer, researcher, published author and lecturer in leading academic institutions around the world. Soon after India opened up its economy to the outside world in 1991, he established the first five India Focused funds and pioneered the roots of asset management industry in India and the firm has now worked for over 900 funds across all classes of asset. He as the core member of Securities and Exchange Board of India’s committee, helped draft Venture Capital Fund (including Foreign Venture Fund) Regulations and Employee Stock Options Regulations.

In the last two and a half decades, the firm has worked on some of the leading M&A and Private Equity deals in and out of India. In fact, Merger Market regarded us the Fastest growing M&A Law Firm in India in 2015. The details of some of the M&A deals that the firm has worked on can be accessed here.


Professor, Indian Institute of Technology

Aditya Gupte is a graduate from the University of Florida in Aerospace Engineering who returned to India to carry out extensive research in Aerospace Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology (Bombay) with a passion to develop technologies in aerospace engineering for India. Aditya labels himself as a young researcher, innovator and entrepreneur. During his academic years in Florida he had the opportunity of working with scientists from NASA Glenn Research Centre, on finding thermo-structural deformations in Scramjet Engines, which helped in improving the performance of the scramjet. Aditya has also had the opportunity to work with Camera Culture Group, MIT Media Labs on one of healthcare related topics related to sleep disorders in Indians and with Makers Asylum on developing open-source satellite tracking and data acquisition system for universities. His recent achievement includes developing a drone and braille pad technology for the blind which will help them to navigate indoors and outdoors. The drone and braille pad technology was selected as one of the top 10 innovations at the World Drone Expo in San Diego, California in 2016. Currently, Aditya is focused on developing the first three-seater flying air taxi in India by 2019. This ambitious project aims to provide pick up services to passengers and to fly them to their destination, landing at the parking lot of the destination. Aditya also aims to develop many more of such technologies that are likely to deliver a major impact to the Indian markets. He dreams to be the pioneer in developing drones and flying cars in India.


Leader - Private Equity and M&A, Nishith Desai Associates

Mr. Vaibhav Parikh is the Partner in - charge of the Bangalore office of the multi-skilled, research-based international law firm, Nishith Desai Associates. He is Partner in-charge of the M&A and Private Equity practice groups. He also heads the Fund Investments practice group. He is a member of firm’s executive committee. He has a wide range of experience in corporate and technology transactions. He has advised several private equity and venture capital funds in their investments, specifically in e-commerce, technology, media and life sciences industry. He also has significant experience in M&A transactions including advising on India’s largest e-commerce transaction till date. He has been passionately involved in setting up operations and raising finance for several start-up companies. He is actively involved in the Intellectual Property Practice and is in charge of industry focus group for IT, Telecom, and Media. He has advised many leading Indian e-commerce companies in their operations from a legal and regulatory stand point. He has been nominated as one of Leading Lawyer in Private Equity Practice by IFLR1000 in the year 2013. He has also been nominated as one of the world’s leading practitioners in ‘Who’s Who Legal’ for Regulatory Communications. He is recommended by Legal 500 as an expert in TMT and competition law in 2014. He has been ranked number one for TMT by Chambers and Partners in 2015. Vaibhav Parikh is regularly sought after for his extensive experience in advising on technology matters, with an emphasis on corporate transactions.


Leader - International Commercial law Practice, Nishith Desai Associates

Huzefa Tavawalla Heads the International Commercial Law Practice at the multi-skilled, research based international law firm Nishith Desai Associates (www.nishithdesai.com). He is also an integral member of the TMT & Corporate Practice Groups and focuses on matters pertaining to Information Technology, Mergers & Acquisitions, Media & Entertainment, Telecommunication and International Tax.

Mr. Tavawalla has been at the forefront of outbound and global M&A in particular project management for large cross border acquisitions. Further, he has advised on several cutting edge, complex and cross-border telecom and technology contracts.

Further, Legal 500 accredited Mr. Tavawalla as “an accomplished professional with a deep understanding of M&A transactions”.

Mr. Tavawalla has also done extensive research and undertaken various matters in relation to cutting areas of technology such Artificial Intelligence, Driverless Cars, Drones etc.

In addition, Mr. Tavawalla has significant expertise in joint ventures, asset acquisitions and business transfers with a special focus on public private partnerships. Mr. Tavawalla continues to be closely associated with academics and is a regular guest lecturer at law school(s), industry associations and other education institutions. He is actively involved in addressing legal issues and has published various articles on the same with a focus on commercial laws.

He has also lead the team for the research papers on The Future is Here: Artificial Intelligence & Robotics, Drones – Unmasking the Future, Internet of Things: The Era of Convergence - Legal & Tax Issues, published by Nishith Desai Associates.

Mr. Tavawalla spent close to a year (2012) in Tokyo, with the largest Japanese law firm (Nishimura & Asahi) understanding insights on Japanese culture and cross border M&A.

Mr. Tavawalla earned a Bachelor’s degree in Law from the India Law Society’s, Law College, Pune and is also admitted to the Bombay Bar Association and the Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa. He is a member of the International Bar Association (“IBA”) along with being a member of the Intellectual Property and Technology committee of the IBA. Mr. Tavawalla also holds various diplomas in subjects such as Corporate Laws, European Union Public Law, Cyber Laws and Humanitarian Laws.


Member, International Disputes Resolution Team

Siddharth Ratho is a member of the International Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice at the multi-skilled, research-based international law firm, Nishith Desai Associates. At his time at the firm he has been involved in cross-border disputes, international commercial arbitrations and litigations and represented clients on cutting edge cross - border and complex litigations (Supreme Court and High Courts), investment treaty disputes and international commercial arbitrations.

Siddharth completed his undergraduate studies in liberal arts in the United States of America, obtaining a double major in International Relations and Economics along with a minor in mathematics from Connecticut College in 2011. His international stint also included a semester at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London. Thereafter, he went on to obtain his bachelor of law degree in 2014 from the Government Law College, University of Mumbai.

Siddharth has authored and co-authored several articles on various topics concerning cross border litigation and international commercial arbitration, most recently co-authoring an article published in the March 2017 issue of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association Journal. Apart from disputes, Siddharth has also been involved in the research and study of futuristic disruptive technologies at the firm and the potential legal issues associated with the same, recently authoring a research paper at the firm titled “Preparing for a Driverless Future: Re-shaping the transportation landscape and conquering the Sky”. Apart from law, he continues to pursue his interests in International Relations and Economics.