The INDUS-X collaboration agenda sets forth an ambitious roadmap to revolutionize defense innovation between India and the United States. With timelines and measurable metrics, this agenda outlines strategic actions that INDUS-X stakeholders aim to undertake in order to advance their shared goal of fostering innovation and collaboration. By harnessing the expertise of industry, academia, and public-private partnerships, INDUS-X seeks to drive transformative progress in defense technology.

The key initiatives encompassed within the collaboration agenda include:

Bilateral Cooperation Mechanism

Advisory Oversight

A distinguished Senior Advisor Group (SAG) will diligently monitor and evaluate the progress of the collaboration agenda. This group will provide strategic recommendations to defence establishments and other INDUS-X stakeholders for future endeavours. To ensure seamless implementation, roundtables organized by USIP, Carnegie India, and the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) will convene working-level representatives of INDUS-X stakeholders. These roundtables will foster synergistic collaboration and identify potential obstacles to be addressed by the SAG.

Industry and Academia-Led Initiatives

Mentor-Protégé Partnerships for Startups

Indian and US defence firms are committed to establishing both formal and informal mentoring programs, guiding startups in areas such as market access, business strategy, and technological expertise.

Accelerator Program for Defense Startups

Hacking for Allies (H4x), the Information Technology Industry Council (iTIC), IIT Hyderabad, and additional INDUS-X stakeholders are poised to explore opportunities that provide startups with defined problem sets, mentoring, exposure in defence commercialization, business development, product refinement, technology advancement, and funding avenues.

Academic & Start-up Programming Partnerships with Universities and Accelerators

Pennsylvania State University, Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Madras, and IIT Kanpur will spearhead best practice workshops. These workshops will facilitate knowledge exchange between Indian and American universities, accelerators, and defence innovation hubs, including labs, Technology Hub (T-HUB), IITs, and Hacking for India. The focus will be on sharing insights related to defence innovation, fielding, and commercialization.

Collaboration of Start-ups with Defence Majors’ Supply Chains

Exploring collaborative opportunities between Indian and US defence firms, including integrating startups into established supply chains, will be a priority.

Public-Private Partnerships

Joint (Prize) Challenges: The Department of Defense (DoD) and Ministry of Defence (MoD), in collaboration with external stakeholders, will investigate the potential for joint challenges designed to leverage common dual-use cases for both countries, with a specific focus on engaging Indian and US start-ups.

Innovation, Testing, and Certification Labs & Centers for Defence Start-ups: DoD and MoD will actively explore pathways to provide start-ups with access to each other’s research and development (R&D) centers and innovation labs. This cross-access will catalyze collaboration between start-ups. Additionally, INDUS-X stakeholders will identify opportunities to enhance testing and certification capacity in India and the United States.

Indo-US Joint Innovation Fund: IndiaSpora, IndUS Tech Council, Bharat Forge/Coimbatore, and T-Hub/Hyderabad will rally private investors to support investment in defence and dual-use start-ups. Furthermore, the DoD and MoD will explore avenues, including public-private partnerships, to establish a dedicated fund that bolsters deep-tech defence start-ups.

Easing regulations for cross-border development & trade: The Senior Advisor Group will propose adjustments to regulatory schemes, such as DFARS, ITAR, EAR, and Make in India, with the aim of streamlining start-up innovation between the two countries and expanding procurement opportunities. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Department of Defense (DoD) may refer these recommendations to existing trade dialogues, including the India-U.S. Strategic Trade Dialogue, as deemed appropriate.

Standardization of Indo-U.S. Certifications for Technology Startups: MoD and DoD are committed to exploring the standardization of certifications for technologies developed by the defence innovation ecosystems of both countries. This initiative aims to accelerate the absorption of these technologies by establishing common Quality Assurance (QA) parameters, certification standards, and program success memoranda.

By embarking on these collaborative endeavors, INDUS-X stakeholders seek to revolutionize defence innovation and forge a resilient partnership between India and the United States. The collaborative agenda serves as a guiding framework, promoting the exchange of knowledge, resources, and expertise to drive transformative progress in defence technology and strengthen bilateral ties

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