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INDUS-X to spark culture of co-development and co-production between startups: USIBC president

INDUS-X to spark culture of co-development and co-production between startups; USIBC president


INDUS-X to spark culture of co-development and co-production between startups: USIBC president

The India-US Defence Acceleration Ecosystem or INDUS-X is going to spark a culture of co-development and co-production among startups between the two countries, according to the head of the US-India Business Council (USIBC).

“By investing in these relationships at the startup level, we can ensure that throughout the 21st century, our two democracies have the deterrent capability to protect our core values, promote the principles of the rules-based order, and preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Atul Keshap, president of USIBC, said at the launch of INDUS-X here on Tuesday. INDUS-X has been launched in partnership with the Department of Defence and India’s Department for Defence Production.

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On Wednesday, several important startups from the two countries will be displaying the next generation of defence and space technologies, reaffirming the pre-eminence of free, rules-based societies. “That is a concrete demonstration of ideas becoming actions, commitments translating to implementation,” Keshap said, adding that among the display during the exhibition could be the next-generation satellites that will help own the next domain of defence, advanced robotics, drones and other autonomous systems, stealth tech for soldiers, temperature resistant combat apparel, novel artificial intelligence applications and state of the art imaging systems.

Keshap said the exhibition is going to demonstrate the full power of our free enterprise systems to the world ahead of President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting at the White House. “Even more importantly, it’s going to spark a culture of co-development and co-production between these startups. I see a future where our two nations are anchors of stability and arsenals of freedom in our two respective hemispheres,” he asserted. He exuded confidence that some of the companies present here will become some of the most important players in the Indo-US defence innovation ecosystem in the years to come.

“These companies are so excited to see how the iCET and top-level deliberation over these two days lift long-standing barriers on export controls and knowledge exchange, offering tremendous new opportunities for them to partner with each other and build advanced new capabilities that will help protect and advance the interests of our two great countries,” Keshap said. Noting that Indus-X is a joint initiative of India and the US, and that really builds on the larger vision of the two leaders and the efforts that have been made over the past few years to cultivate a defence innovation ecosystem that really works, India’s Deputy Ambassador to the US Sripriya Rangarajan said this innovation is seen as being meaningful and viable and something that will drive defence industry partnership across the world in the coming years.

Defence partnership, she said, is the central pillar of the India-US comprehensive global strategic partnership, with the promise of intensification in defence, industrial and technology cooperation. “We have really brought the flavour and the granularity to that by the kind of cooperation that we have developed by way of joint exercises, by way of personnel exchanges, cooperation in maritime security, in counter-piracy,” she said. Referring to the fast pace at which the US military platforms have become part of India’s defence infrastructure, she said: “We have gone from, I like to say it’s a movement from zero to hero in the sense that we have gone from just about zero to about USD21 billion in the past decade and a half. That’s not a bad trajectory.”

But the two countries have much more to do, she added. “I hope very much that through this conversation that we are having today through the partnerships that we’ll be forging between companies in the room today, we will be able to move from move to make the India-US Defence Industrial Partnership; a partnership that is not only making for each other but making for the world,” she said. “That is the ambition that we have in India, which is echoed by our friends in the US. Our defence industry welcomes the opportunities to leverage India’s comparative advantages and the opportunities for defence in industrial collaboration. That is through innovation, co-development and co-production for India and for the world. “We believe that the liberalised investment environment in India and the flexibility that we are able to offer in terms of making it possible for American companies to succeed in India will help us to translate this vision into reality,” Rangarajan said.

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