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The India-US Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) Investors Meet held its first meeting here on Wednesday as a precursor to the forthcoming visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin for the 2+2 India-US Ministerial Dialogue here this week.
The meeting was organised by Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) under the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence and US Department of Defence.
Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) was launched in June 2023 during the state visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US and Wednesday's meeting was aimed at strengthening ties in defence production between the two countries.
Blinken and Austin will hold talks with India on Friday with India's foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and defence minister Rajnath Singh as part of the "2+2 Dialogue", launched in 2018 to strengthen defence cooperation.
The two countries are working on deals for the US to supply and manufacture engines for Indian fighter jets, MQ-9 predator drones and semiconductor manufacturing, according to sources.
The talks are expected to build on the discussions that have already taken place during PM Modi's visit to Washington in June and President Joe Biden's trip for the G20 summit in September.
The INDUS-X Educational Series (Gurukul) was also launched during the event on Wednesday.
Doug Beck, Director Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), US department of defence led the US delegation and Vivek Virmani, COO/iDEX-DIO the Indian delegation.
The event was co-ordinated by US India Strategic Partnership Forum.
The first-ever INDUS-X Investors Event evinced the interest of the investors in the start-ups and MSMEs operating in the defence sector and the emerging opportunities under the INDUS-X initiative.
The interactive meet brought all the stakeholders viz Startups/MSMEs, Investors, Incubators, Industry from both sides under one roof to discuss the collaborative agendas and opportunities, the Defence Ministry said.
The event also had focused panel discussions with a select audience of 50 thought leaders, including start-ups, investors, government officials and business leaders from the defence industry.
The panel held discussions on 'Investment Opportunities in the Defence Sector', elaborating upon establishing a sustainable commercial foundation for defence collaboration and co-production.
In the Investor-Start-up Connect session, leading Indian and US investors, VCs and defence start-ups offered their insights regarding their plans for the defence sector and the expectations from each other.
Select Indian and US startups also presented their profile and innovations at the meeting.
Beck appreciated the brainstorming session on setting up a Joint Innovation Fund besides the panel discussions on critical issues.
He expressed satisfaction with the response to the joint IMPACT challenges and was confident that the Gurukul Educational Series would help the startups in navigating in the defence eco-systems of India and the US.
Virmani added that the path breaking Investor connect event would lead to increased collaboration in the field of defence innovation.
He also agreed that the topics finalised under Gurukul will be relevant for all stakeholders, especially the startups. Both Director/DIU and COO/DIO invited the startups and innovators to apply in the joint IMPACT challenges, and to participate in the Gurukul Educational Series.
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