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Indian Ambassador Sandhu engages with tech CEOs for iCET initiative

Building on the momentum generated by the historic visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu has met leaders from the area of critical and emerging technologies in Silicon Valley as part of iCET initiative.

The Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies or iCET has emerged as a key pillar of the India-US relationship following the maiden state visit of Prime Minister Modi to the US from June 21 to 23.

The initiative was launched early this year by the two national security advisors – Jake Sullivan from the US and Ajit Doval from India – but it has been propelled to a new height by Prime Minister Modi and President Joe Biden. On the last day of his visit, the two leaders met top chief executives from the iCET sectors at the White House, a meeting which was called the tech handshake.

Taking this initiative forward, Sandhu travelled to California to meet a host of tech leaders in domains ranging from robotics to artificial intelligence to space. Be it America and India, or Artificial Intelligence: the future is #AI! Sandhu tweeted after his exciting conversation with Greg Brockman, president and co-founder of OpenAI about the impact of ChatGPT, India’s digital revolution, and deepening India-US tech cooperation.

“Geospatial data generated incl in collaboration with ISRO helping map land use, monitor agriculture, & manage disasters. From earth to the stars, boundless horizons for India-US partnership!” Sandhu said. Sandhu also met Cassie, Mini Cheetah and Digit – the three robots at the University of California, Berkeley in the lab of Indian American scientist Prof Koushil Sreenath.

Fascinating world of robotics research with wide-ranging applications in logistics, prosthetics, and locomotion, Sandhu said. Sandhu started his day with a coffee session with Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna. Learnt about her groundbreaking work on CRISPR gene editing technology and its potential in transforming healthcare, agriculture, biotech and life sciences, Sandhu said. The Indian Ambassador also visited the Gadar Memorial and the Indian Consulate in San Francisco.

“Paid my respects to Gadari babas, leading lights of the Indian freedom movement in the US, at Gadar Memorial during my visit to San Francisco,” he said in another tweet. Some of the others Sandhu met were Planet Labs Co-Founder and CEO Will Marshall and President Kevin Weil; OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, Greg Brockman president and co-founder of OpenAI; Nobel Laureate Jennifer Doudna, and Jay Chaudhry CEO of Zscaler, a cyber security firm.

Altman mentioned that his company is committed to backing startups in India, education being the major area to focus on. Sam Altman had recently visited India and met the prime minister. He was also at the White House tech handshake event.

OpenAI is more interested in backing up startups in India than opening an office The day concluded with a reception hosted in his honour by TiE Silicon Valley and was attended by some of the top Indian American CEOs and VCs from the area. Planet Labs launched Flock 2p, consisting of twelve Dove satellites, and Flock 3p, consisting of 88 Dove satellites, from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, by ISRO in 2016 and 2017.

And Flock 3p’, consisting of 4 Dove satellites, was launched in India by ISRO’s PSLV-C40 mission on January 12, 2018. Planet Labs has also announced plans to open a development centre in India. PTI

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