US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti said the launch of the INDUS X Summit and the defence exhibition opens opportunities for startups to participate in government-sponsored joint challenges
The launch of this initiative has the potential to be a catalyst for India to achieve its target of $5 Bn in defence exports by 2025: US Chamber of Commerce
The exhibition coincided with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, during which General Electric announced a partnership with Hindustan Aeronautics to make fighter jet engines in India
In an attempt to bolster the Indo-US defence innovation ecosystem by engaging more startups, the US-India Business Council hosted the inaugural INDUS X Summit and a startup-focussed defence exhibition this week in Washington DC.
Calling these initiatives just the beginning, US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti said in a statement that the countries expect startups to get opportunities to participate in government-sponsored joint challenges and find technological solutions to the most pressing problems.
“Expect opportunities for startups to partner with established defence industry leads. I’m so excited in the coming months to work with folks both in India and here to have a mechanism to matchmake those startups,” Garcetti added.
The exhibition coincided with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US.
Commenting on the exhibition, the US Chamber of Commerce said that the INDUS X Summit and startup exhibition have the potential to be catalysts for India to achieve its target of $5 Bn in defence exports by 2025 and diversify its defence supply chain via a partnership with the US.
As per a statement by the Indian Ministry of Defence, the event saw a joint showcasing of innovative technologies by 15 Indian and 10 US-based startups from domains across maritime, AI, autonomous systems, and space.
Besides, India has also been trying to reduce its reliance on imports of defence equipment and technology.
The indigenisation efforts have provided a major boost to the defence startups in India. Currently, there are over 200 startups working in the defence space with different technological offerings.
From drone players such as ideaForge, NewSpace Research & Technology, and Optimized Electrotech to other deeptech players such as Tonbo Imaging and EyeROV, and medtech startups like Axio Biosolutions, the Indian startup ecosystem is working to fulfil the country’s defence needs.
In 2021, the Ministry of Defence also approved a central sector scheme, Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), with a budgetary support of INR 498.78 Cr to provide financial support to nearly 300 startups MSMEs, individual innovators, and about 20 partner incubators through Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO).
Ambassador Atul Keshap, senior vice president for South Asia and president of the US-India Business Council at the US Chamber of Commerce, said that some of the companies that displayed their technologies at the exhibition in Washington DC this week would become some of the most important players in the Indo-US defence innovation ecosystem in the coming years.
On Thursday, US-based General Electric’s aerospace unit announced signing an agreement with India’s Hindustan Aeronautics for jointly making engines in India that would power fighter jets for the Indian Air Force.