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INDUS-X, India-US project aimed at greater collaboration on defence tech, lauded at Modi-Biden meet

New Delhi: At the bilateral meeting held a day ahead of the G20 meet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden discussed the India-U.S. Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X).

The two leaders on Friday, according to a joint statement, “commended the India-U.S. Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) team for establishing a robust collaboration agenda to harness the innovative work of the U.S. and Indian defence sectors to address shared security challenges”.

Coinciding with Prime Minister Modi’s state visit to the US, the INDUS X was launched at an event in Washington DC in June. It was co-organised by Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), Ministry of Defence, and US Department of Defence and hosted by US-India Business Council (USIBC). 

The launch was earlier announced in New Delhi, after US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh discussed issues related to defence cooperation.

It came months after the US, India agreed on the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) announced in May 2002 for cooperation on critical and emerging technologies in areas such as wireless telecommunication, artificial intelligence (AI), semiconductors and quantum computing.

The purpose of the INDUS X launch was co-development and co-production of advanced technologies by Indian and American start-ups with the involvement of both the governments along with businesses, and academic institutions for strategic technology partnership and defence industrial cooperation.

As per a fact sheet released in June, the two sides seek to “catalyse innovation” within their defence industrial bases.

Among many other co-operations on defence, this development points at the growing closeness between India and the US. The US, in recent times, has become one of the major global beneficiaries of India’s lowering dependence on Russian defence equipment.

The two sides vowed in June to strengthen ties between defence industrial ecosystems in order to make them “more innovative, accessible, and resilient.”

In August, a first-of-its-kind workshop was held at IIT-Kanpur to foster defence cooperation between India and the US with the aim to enhance “defence excellence, fostering collaboration and addressing sector needs”.

With over 500 participants from both countries, the workshop discussed how the startups, industry and academia would contribute in defence innovation, discussing market access, funding, policy changes, and technology transfer at large.

Technologies such as AI were given prominence during the workshop with even space innovations being discussed closely. By facilitating academia and start-up innovation, the event presented a “holistic view” on academia and start-up roles in defence innovation.

The efforts taken by the two countries basically look at upholding Indo-Pacific security with a collaborative approach on defence technology through partnerships. 

The US wooing India in terms of defence technology has become a common phenomenon to keep Russia at bay.  

Representatives from Indian MSMEs along with their US counterparts called have been calling for “relaxation of defence export restrictions to facilitate international market entry”. 

(Edited by Tony Rai)

Also Read: Boeing begins production of Apache helicopters for Army, 1st of these to be delivered in 2024  


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