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Biden believes iCET key for US, India to create democratic tech ecosystem

US President Joe Biden believes that the India-US initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies, or iCET, is key for the two countries to create a democratic technology ecosystem, the White House has said.

iCET, which is being billed as the “Next Big Thing” in the India-US relationship, was launched by national security advisors Jake Sullivan from the US and Ajit K Doval from India at the White House here on Tuesday.

“The President believes this initiative is key for the US and India to create a democratic technology ecosystem and reinforces our democratic values and our democratic institutions. So, we see this as an incredibly important initiative and a partnership that we have with India,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at her daily news conference.

iCET was being launched at the direction of Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi who after their Tokyo meeting in May 2022 had announced to elevate and expand the strategic technology partnership and defense industrial cooperation between the governments, businesses and academic institutions of the two countries.

“The President and Prime Minister Modi announced this initiative back when they met in a meeting in May of just last year, 2022 — and that was in Tokyo — and directed their national security advisors to spearhead our partnership in critical emerging technologies,” Jean-Pierre said Wednesday, in response to a question.

“We made our announcements yesterday in defensive innovation, semiconductor space, 5G and STEM talent. We look forward to building on this momentum in the upcoming months and years. So again, an important partnership, an initiative between the two friends who are two countries,” she said.

Responding to a question if this initiative was aimed towards China, the press secretary said it is not about one country.

“You can’t ignore the geopolitical context that we live in, as you asked me about China, but this initiative is not about any country, just one country. It truly is about something bigger than that, a relationship between two friends, two countries who have been partners for some time,” she said.

“As two of the world’s leading economies and democracies, it is in our interest to strengthen this partnership and deliver for our people, and when you think about the economies and the people around the world. So we think this is an important step forward and we’ll continue to grow on this innovation initiative,” Jean-Pierre said.

At a separate news conference, State Department Deputy Press Secretary Vedant Patel told reporters that the US-India initiative on critical and emerging technology will elevate and expand the strategic technology partnership and defence industrial cooperation.

“The two sides discussed opportunities for greater cooperation in critical and emerging technologies, co-development and co-production, and ways to deepen connectivity across our innovation ecosystems,” he said.

“We also expanded our defence cooperation with joint development and production, and this will focus on projects related to jet engines, munition-related technologies, and other systems. I will let our colleagues at the White House and National Security Council speak further about this meeting,” Patel said. PTI

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