India-US defense expo focuses on space, AI cooperation

New York: Indian and US defense officials and business people have focused on partnering in space and Artificial Intelligence (AI) at a virtual expo, according to the US Department of Defense (DoD).

The Second Defense Technology and Trade Initiative Industry Collaboration Forum (DICF) Virtual Expo held on Monday “focused on securing supply chains in critical sectors such as semiconductors and partnering for innovation in emerging domains, such as AI and space”, DoD Spokesperson Jessica Maxwell said.

Jesse Salazar, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy, and Anurag Bajpai, India’s Joint Secretary for Defense Industries, co-chaired the Expo held in partnership with the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum and the Society of Indian Defense Manufacturers.

Maxwell said: “The DICF, a cornerstone of the US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), aims to deepen industrial cooperation between the US and India by identifying opportunities to jointly research, develop, and produce warfighting capabilities.”

Salazar was joined in the discussion by Michael Vaccaro, the DoD acting Executive Director for International Cooperation, and senior executives from US and Indian companies, she said.

As India and the US strengthen their strategic cooperation, DTTI has assumed an important role, which was reiterated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden at their Washington summit in September.

In their joint statement after their meeting, they called upon the government and private stakeholders “to use the existing ecosystems of innovation and entrepreneurship in defense industries for co-development, co-production and expanding mutual defense trade”.

Modi and Biden mentioned the recent project to co-develop air-launched unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) under the DTTI and said they “encouraged more such efforts”.

Modi has said that under the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative of boosting domestic industries he wants to make India a hub of defense manufacturing and export and for this US collaboration could play a key role.

To facilitate deeper cooperation in the defense industry, the two countries held a “summit” starting in late September on the Industrial Security Agreement (ISA) summit.

Bajpai and David Paul Bagnati, the Assistant Director for Defense Technology Security Administration, led the meeting to develop a protocol for the exchange of classified information between the defense industries of both nations.

Image courtesy of thesatimes

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