The India-US Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) was launched as a joint initiative by the US and Indian Ministries of Defence on June 21, 2023, in Washington, DC. The event, jointly organised by Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), the Ministry of Defence, and the US Department of Defence (DoD), and hosted by the US-India Business Council (USIBC), seeks to enhance the collaborative efforts between India and the US in the realms of defence innovation.
15 Indian start-ups and 10 US start-ups showcased their innovative technologies at the event in various domains, from maritime and artificial intelligence to space. “This initiative builds on a commitment by the US and Indian National Security Advisors in January 2023 to launch an ‘Innovation Bridge’ to connect the US and Indian defence start-ups as part of the US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET),” an official statement said.
INDUS-X to bolster India-US partnership
Anurag Bajpai, the Joint Secretary for Defence Industries Promotion at the Ministry of Defence (MoD), commended the inauguration of it as a significant milestone in India-US bilateral relations. He emphasised the timeliness of this event, coinciding with the meeting of leaders from the world’s two largest and oldest democracies in Washington. Speaking at the event, Mr. Frank Kendall, the US Secretary of the Air Force, expressed the view that the partnership between India and the US is expanding rapidly. He highlighted the significant possibilities for deep-tech start-ups from both countries to work together in Space and Artificial Intelligence (AI), acknowledging the immense potential for collaboration.
INDUS-X: A leap in defence innovation
To enhance the India-US strategic and defence partnership, the INDUS-X paves the way to deepen the collaboration between both nations’ defence innovation sectors. The initiative will also act as a stepping stone for both actors to move toward the goals established in the US-India roadmap for defence industrial cooperation. With the support of both governments, private sectors and research institutions will closely collaborate to catalyse the defence innovation bases of both nations. Therefore strengthening the ties between the defence industrial ecosystem of India and the US by turning them more innovative, accessible and resilient becomes the primary agenda of INDUS-X. The stakeholders will advance the collaboration agenda through bilateral cooperation mechanisms, industry and academia-led initiatives and public-private partnerships.
US efforts to reduce India’s defence ties with Russia
Increasing defence exports has been the top agenda of the Modi government, resulting in a historic growth of $1.95 billion in defence exports in the FY 2022-2023, with Russia still continuing to be the biggest arms supplier to India. The United States, India’s third largest arms supplier, has stepped up its efforts to reduce India’s dependency on Russian military weapons.
The INDUS-X launching simultaneously during the first official state visit of PM Narendra Modi to the US underlines the eagerness of the Biden administration to make India a key defence partner. Discussions on bilateral defence cooperation are a vital component of the visit.
INDUS X has the capacity to act as a catalyst in helping India accomplish its goal of achieving $5 billion in defence exports by 2025. Additionally, it provides an opportunity for India to broaden its defence supply chain. Hence, this joint initiative can be an ideal platform to diversify India’s defence needs.