Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) Director Doug Beck is joining Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken in India this week, where they’re meeting with their international counterparts to discuss opportunities for expanding interoperability between the nations’ militaries and deepening ongoing pursuits around industrial cooperation.
“DIU’s goals with [Beck’s] visit are to strengthen the partnership [and] continue to highlight the importance of commercial technology to defense, and the need to catalyze private investments in Indian defense and deep tech,” a spokesperson for the unit told DefenseScoop in an email on Wednesday.
Top national security officials and their teams are in New Delhi for the fifth U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue.
While there, they and other officials from the Department of Defense participated with members of the Indian Ministry of Defence in the first-ever investor strategy session of the India-U.S. Defense Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X).
The DIU spokesperson said this “builds on the momentum” of meetings in Washington in June, when the U.S. and India launched INDUS-X as a new initiative broadly aimed at more tightly integrating the countries’ industrial bases.
Among other announcements that stemmed from those engagements this summer, the nations jointly unveiled a new roadmap for their strategic partnership. The guiding document identified key areas of technology collaboration specifically related to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, undersea domain awareness, air combat and support, munitions systems and mobility.
“This week, [Beck will] have in-depth conversations with existing entrepreneurs, investors and technologists to understand the regulatory and other impediments to facilitating greater engagement in our dual-use technology ecosystems,” the DIU spokesperson told DefenseScoop.
With Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) Chief Operating Officer Vivek Virmani of the Indian Ministry of Defense, Beck — who also serves as a senior advisor to Austin — is meeting with investors and startups about new ways to leverage private capital and equip their militaries with technologies to defend the Indo-Pacific region, where tensions with China are running high.
Notably, Indo-Pacific Command is the first U.S. military combatant command where DIU officials are embedding to help “plug in” emerging tech that’s already in the unit’s pipeline.
In India, Beck and his colleagues also are taking part in a technology pitch event with briefings from “some of the top Indian startups and technologists operating in the private sector,” according to the DIU spokesperson.
“As part of this, there will be an announcement of the jointly managed INDUS-X Gurukul Education Series during a session of the INDUS-X Investors Meeting. [Beck] will provide background and garner interest from the startups and other personnel attending this event,” the official said, noting that topics associated with adversarial capital, academia in defense and space technology will be in focus.
The Gurukul series is ultimately designed to supply new opportunities and support to India-based startups.
This marks Beck’s second trip with Austin, DefenseScoop also confirmed. The head of DIU previously joined the Pentagon chief on a visit to U.S. European Command this summer.
However, Beck is not accompanying Blinken and Austin on their other planned stops in South Korea and Indonesia on this official travel.