Former Indian Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar has been appointed as an advisor to the board of the US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF), according to a media announcement.
Kumar served as the defence secretary between August 2019 and October 2022. “Dr Kumar brings in over three decades of expertise and understanding of the crucial nexus between defence and critical and emerging technology,” said Mukesh Aghi, President and CEO of USISPF.
“At a time when the US and India are strengthening their partnership in the fields of iCET and INDUS-X, Dr Kumar’s experience and perspective have played a pivotal part in boosting technology cooperation, strengthening the defence framework, and enhancing the defence and space ecosystem in the country,” Aghi further said.
Kumar is the longest-serving secretary in the Ministry of Defence, having also served as Secretary in the Department of Defence Production. He is credited with transforming the defence industry ecosystem under the Atmanirbhar Bharat, the concept launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“It is a privilege to be invited to the Board of Advisors of the US-India Strategic Policy Forum at an extremely crucial time in the history of the relationship between the two nations. I am excited about the opportunity to work towards enhancing this relationship,” Kumar said in a statement issued by USISPF.
The ex-Defence Secretary also implemented the historic corporatisation of the 200-year-old and 80,000-employee-strong Ordnance Factories Board and the Innovation for Defence Excellence (iDEX) Programme, a start-up ecosystem that today powers new technologies in defence, space, drones, and AI.
He has also served in different capacities in the Electronics and Information Technology (IT) sector, including holding key positions as additional secretary in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) and director general of the National Informatics Centre.
He is credited with having been part of the team of leaders who implemented key initiatives of Digital India under Prime Minister Modi in 2014, including UPI, the world’s largest digital payment system; Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric digital identity system, myGov, the Government-e Marketplace, and Jeevan Pramaan, it said.
(with PTI inputs)