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India, US announce cooperation in AI, semiconductors, and defence

India and the US on Monday unveiled a raft of transformative initiatives to deepen cooperation in areas of semiconductors, artificial intelligence, critical minerals, advanced telecommunication and defence space, while pledging to remove long-standing barriers to strategic trade.

In their wide-ranging talks, NSA Ajit Doval and his US counter Jake Sullivan also reviewed New Delhi’s planned acquisition of 31 MQ-9B Predator drones, the proposed joint manufacturing of Stryker infantry combat vehicles and negotiations between GE Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for co-production of GE F414 engines to power India’s future fighter jets.

The focus of the deliberations, held under the framework of the India-US initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET), was to ensure that technology is designed, developed and deployed in sync with democratic values and with a mutual recognition that the future security of the Indo-Pacific will hinge on the strength of the ties between the two sides.

It was not immediately known whether the case of the alleged assassination attempt on top Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Panun, who has been designated a terrorist by India, came up during the discussions between the two sides.

In the meeting, Doval and Sullivan set the vision for the next chapter of the strategic technology partnership between India and the US, a fact-sheet on the talks said.

It said both sides emphasised the need for continued efforts, particularly under the strategic trade dialogue, to address outstanding barriers to technology collaboration.

The big-ticket takeaways included launching a new strategic semiconductor partnership, promoting India’s vital role in the mineral security partnership, USD 90 million funding for Global Challenges Institute focusing on technology, initiatives to strengthen cooperation in 6G technologies and joint work towards large-scale Open RAN deployments in India and the US.

“Our work also continues to be anchored in a shared commitment to ensuring that technology is designed, developed and deployed in a manner consistent with our democratic values and respect for universal human rights, as well as a recognition that the future security and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific will hinge on the strength of the India-US partnership,” the fact-sheet said.

It said a new strategic semiconductor partnership will be between General Atomics and 3rdiTech to co-develop semiconductor design and manufacturing for precision-guided ammunition and other national security-focused electronics platforms.

In the second iCET meeting, Doval and Sullivan set the vision for “the next chapter of our strategic technology partnership”, the document said.

“They underscored their commitment to orienting our cooperation around breakthrough achievements in priority critical and emerging technology areas, by focusing our efforts on co-production, co-development, and research and development opportunities to ensure we stay at the leading edge of innovation,” it said.

The aim would be to enhance coordination with like-minded nations to deliver secure, reliable, and cost-competitive technology solutions for the Indian and American people and the partners of the two countries around the world.

The fact-sheet noted that Doval and Sullivan underscored the vital importance of adapting technology protection toolkits and resolved to prevent the leakage of sensitive and dual-use technologies to countries of concern.

“They also committed to take concrete action in the coming months to address long-standing barriers to bilateral strategic trade, technology, and industrial cooperation, including in the commercial and civil space sector,” it said.

On defence ties, the document noted that the meeting welcomed India’s planned acquisition of the MQ-9B platforms, the possible co-production of land warfare systems, and progress on other co-production initiatives outlined in the India-US Roadmap for Defence Industrial Cooperation.

It said the two sides also noted the progress in negotiations between GE Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the co-production of GE F414-INS6 engines to power India’s future fighter fleet.

The document also referred to expanding defence industrial partnerships, such as the launch of an AI Multi-Domain Situational Awareness product jointly developed by General Atomics and 114ai to support joint all-domain command and control.

The two sides noted the recent finalisation of the India-US Open RAN Acceleration Roadmap, ongoing 5G and 6G R&D Task Force collaboration, and continuing efforts between Indian and US industry to work toward large-scale Open RAN deployments in India and the US.

The document also noted strengthening cooperation in 6G technologies through working groups that would potentially focus on evolving 6G-related technologies like network sensing, intelligent reflecting surface, a human-centric cognition-based wireless access framework, and other priority areas.

In the area of biotechnology, the two sides spoke of developing a joint strategic framework for building biopharmaceutical supply chain optimisation.

The two sides also agreed on deeper cooperation between NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation).

The collaboration would facilitate a mission to the International Space Station by NASA and ISRO astronauts.

The two sides also vowed to build a clean energy and a critical minerals partnership for the 21st century.

It said India’s “vital role” will be promoted in the mineral security partnership, including through co-investing in a lithium resource project in South America and rare earths deposits in Africa as part of efforts to responsibly and sustainably diversify critical mineral supply chains.

The fact-sheet also talked about committing to quickly conclude a bilateral critical minerals pact between the US Department of Commerce and the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Mines.

It said the initiative will drive additional areas of cooperation in critical mineral supply chains such as for graphite, gallium, and germanium.

The two sides also came out with new initiatives for cooperation in quantum science and technology, including through launching a workshop on post-quantum cryptography at the University of California and facilitating visits of Indian technical experts to visit US national laboratories and quantum institutions.

In addition to the iCET meeting, Doval and Sullivan convened an industry roundtable that brought together CEOs and thought leaders from both countries as India and the US mobilise private sector investment and partnerships across strategic technology sectors.

Sullivan is visiting Delhi from June 17 to 18, the first trip to India by a senior Biden Administration official after the Modi government came to power for the third term.

The US National Security Adviser is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising senior US government officials and industry leaders.

Sullivan’s visit to India came three days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden had a brief conversation on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy’s Apulia region.

The iCET was launched by PM Modi and President Biden on the sidelines of the Quad summit in Tokyo on May 24, 2022.

Subsequently, Doval and Sullivan have made concerted efforts to implement the roadmap under the iCET framework with a focus on cooperation in new and emerging technologies, including semiconductors, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, defence innovation, space and advanced telecommunications.

The two sides have included new areas under iCET that included biotechnology, critical minerals and rare earths processing technologies, digital connectivity, digital public infrastructure and advanced materials. PTI

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