July 21 pact with US, July 23 pact with Russia
Balancing its equation between the US and the Russia, India has signed separate agreements that promote industry-to-industry joint ventures in key areas of military equipment like drones, robotics and artificial intelligence , among other.
These agreements have come within two days of each other and signify an important break from the past. New Delhi is now ready to leverage its private sector enterprises for newer emerging technologies and will not be bound down to state owned companies which are languid in their functioning. It also signifies that India is at ease with doing business with either of the two countries.
Under two separate agreements, the scope is widened for more work in the private sector.
The tie-up between India & US now includes industry into the scope of the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) tasked with co-development of military technologies. The one with Russia encourages joint ventures in key areas including drones, robotics, and artificial intelligence.
India US Industry collaboration forum
The two countries have set up a Industry Collaboration Forum, under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI). It will an institutionalized mechanism for developing and sustaining dialogue between Indian and US industry on defence technology and industrial cooperation.
Details of this were made public by US Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord on July 21. Lord was speaking at the ‘India Ideas Summit’ a virtual event organized by the US India Business Council (USIBC).
The Forum is mandated to provide an opportunity for individual members of the private sector to provide facts, data, expertise, or other relevant information on possible projects to the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) and also to the US Department of Defence (DoD).
These could be potential short- and long-term industrial research and development cooperation and/or co-production activities. The forum is aimed at facilitating dialogue between government and industry on issues that may relate to availability of critical and sensitive materials, security of supply and foreign direct investment.
The Forum will be meeting just prior to each DTTI Group meeting – which is conducted once in six months. The forum will help in deciding on the projects for further cooperation, the projects would be classified under categories. One will be Industry-to-Industry projects (including U.S. Industry-Indian Industry Joint Venture projects) facilitated by approved US./Indian export licenses.
Another Category is projects that involve no commitment of procurement by the Indian MOD or the US. DoD.
The Joint Secretary, Department of Defence Production, designated by the Indian MOD, and the Principal Deputy for Industrial Policy, designated by the US DoD, are to serve as forum co-conveners. The Government sector would coordinate with trade associations on either side.
India Russia will jointly fund private sector
Just two days after the announcing the forum with the US, India signed an agreement with Russia on July 23. The Indo-Russia Joint Technology Assessment and Accelerated Commercialization Programme was launched.
It’s a bilateral initiative of India and Russia focused on strengthening the relationship based on Science, Technology and Innovation. The programme aims to create an ecosystem wherein innovative Indian and Russian led Small and medium enterprises, Start-ups and Enterprises come together to drive business ventures.
The programme is a joint initiative of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), of Government of India and Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE) of Russia. On the Indian side, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) would be implementing this programme Through a rigorous application and evaluation process, the programme aims to identify innovative technologies from India and Russia on two parameters — Joint Development through R&D collaboration and Technology transfer and adaptation.
A large part of the projects are dual technology application and this includes projects for Artificial intelligence, Virtual reality and augmented reality. It will do programmes on aerospace, drones, robotics, new materials.
Other programmes will be on Medicine, Pharmaceuticals, Renewable Energy, Clean Technologies, Environment and Biotechnologies.
The funding and selection process
A detailed matchmaking process will be implemented to create sustainable joint technology ventures for market-ready technology-based solutions, products and services; with the potential to scale in India, Russia as well as other countries.
The programme is jointly funded by DST and FASIE and will provide access to public funding for joint selected projects with the participation of at least one SME from Russia and one SME/Startup from India. The funding to the Indian entity will be provided by the Department of Science & Technology (GoI) through FICCI and the funding to the Russian entity will be provided by FASIE.
The project comprises of two annual cycles and five projects will be funded under each program cycle. For each annual cycle of the program, a total funding of upto Rs 7.5 Crore ( approximately $ 100,000) will be made available to the Indian entrepreneurs.
The joint projects will be partially funded by both the agencies, with the remaining costs to be borne by the project partners themselves either through own funds or alternate sources of external funding.
The key programme objectives are
- Promote joint research and development (R&D) between India and Russia.
- Promote validated technology transfer between India and Russia
- Promote innovation and entrepreneurship development through financial, capacity building, mentorship and business development support to create successful joint enterprises
- Development of a robust S&T and R&D ecosystem to scale mutually-beneficial innovations of both the countries
- Provide financial support to five technology projects per cycle between India and Russia.
Benefits of the scheme
It will provide funds to top five selected India and Russian partners will be provided partial funding support by DST and FASIE respectively. The remaining cost will be borne by the partners.
Capacity building workshops will not be limited to, partnership mentoring and scaling, it will have a business plan and strategy; basic principles of technology commercialization, readiness for market; legal and IP advisory; competitive positioning; creating sustainable enterprises etc.
Matchmaking support by FICCI and FASIE to the shortlisted enterprises will include technology transfer: guidance and handholding support to the Indian entrepreneurs. Also provide opportunity to showcase innovations at a technology expo attended by high-level government dignitaries, global industry leaders and media.