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Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in San Francisco

In a major outreach to US companies, especially in the semiconductor space, IT and Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has met the top executives of global US companies in San Francisco at the start of his three-day visit to the country. He also met Google CEO Sundar Pichai at the Mountain View headquarters on Tuesday. ‘’Good discussion on India Stack and Make in India’’, Vaishnaw said in a tweet after his meeting with Pichai.

Over the next two days, Vaishnaw plans to meet more executives from Intel, Micron, Western Digital, Applied Materials, HP, Analog Devices, Lam Research and AMD, among others. He is also participating in a round table hosted by SEMI, a global association representing the electronics manufacturing and design supply chain.

The Indian consulate in San Francisco is arranging another round table with the minister and Indian CEOs. Vaishnaw will also visit Stanford university for a discussion. The agenda of Vaishnaw’s meetings is to persuade American semiconductor and OSAT/ATMP companies to invest in, and set up, manufacturing plants in India. The idea is to interest them in taking advantage of the incentives offered under the semiconductor scheme for chip making and allay any concerns they may have about government policy.

“The meetings have been very fruitful and the message was clear there is no doubt that India is the next big destination for everyone in semiconductors to invest in,” Vaishnaw told Business Standard over the phone.

“They acknowledged that we have taken the right direction by first focusing on the building of the ecosystem for a fab plant to sustain itself,” he added.

Experts point out that the cost of putting up fab plants in Asia are far lower than in the US or Europe – an edge that India also offers. It is noteworthy that by 2030, the globe will require over 1 million additional professionals to power the growth of the semiconductor industry and India can provide a substantial portion of that talent.

The outreach by Vaishnaw will be followed by meetings of the US-India Cooperation on Information and Communications Technologies, organised jointly by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the US government, with the participation of the ICEA and Nasscom.

The meetings will take place in New York and Washington from May 15-18. Among the 40-odd companies that have been invited are Amazon, Microsoft, Accenture, VMware, Equinox, Iron Mountain, Palo Alto, Yahoo, Intel, and Meta.

The sessions will include showcasing the opportunities that India represents for American companies in the IT and ESDM space; an overview of the telecom sector and India’s 5G and 6G roadmap; data privacy and cross border data flows; growth opportunities in electronics manufacturing; and ICT supply chain diversity.

Senior officials from the ministry will participate, led by secretary Alkesh Kumar Sharma, top officials from Nasscom and ICEA.

The $10 billion semiconductor scheme under which the government will provide financial incentives of up to 50 per cent of the cost of a project has attracted global players.

Sources say the government is in the final stages of clearing a $1-billion investment by Micron to set up a OSAT plant and providing a conditional clearance to Foxconn-Vedanta to set up its chip plant here.

However, some global giants have expressed concern about the stability of Indian policy and how this could affect multi-billion dollar investments.

Many Taiwanese companies in OSAT have raised these issues and want more engagement with the Indian government as their clients have asked them to follow a China plus and Taiwan plus policy and set up an alternative Asian hub. Business Standard

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