India US to expand technology partnership in six critical domains
President Joe Biden greets Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Oval Office at the White House (Photo Courtesy: PIB)

New initiatives range from defense innovation, space, stem talent to Next Generation Telecommunications

India and the United States have agreed to expand and deepen their technology partnership by launching new bilateral initiatives and welcoming new cooperation between their governments, industry and academia in six critical domains.

The agreement to launch the new initiatives was reached at the inaugural meeting of the US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) in Washington, DC, on Tuesday led by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Read: Ukraine crisis tops agenda at Biden-Modi virtual meet (April 12, 2022)

The new initiatives cover: Strengthening Innovation Ecosystems; Defense Innovation and Technology Cooperation; Resilient Semiconductor Supply Chains; Space; Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Talent; and Next Generation Telecommunications, according to a fact sheet released by the White House.

The National Security Councils of both countries will coordinate with their respective ministries, departments and agencies to work with their counterparts to advance cooperation, and to engage with stakeholders to deliver on ambitious objectives ahead of the next iCET meeting in New Delhi later in 2023, it said.

President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the iCET in May 2022 to elevate and expand their strategic technology partnership and defense industrial cooperation between the governments, businesses, and academic institutions of the two countries.

“The United States and India affirm that the ways in which technology is designed, developed, governed, and used should be shaped by our shared democratic values and respect for universal human rights,” the fact sheet stated.

The two sides “are committed to fostering an open, accessible, and secure technology ecosystem, based on mutual trust and confidence, that will reinforce our democratic values and democratic institutions,” it said.

The two sides discussed opportunities for greater cooperation in critical and emerging technologies, co-development and coproduction, and ways to deepen connectivity across our innovation ecosystems, the White House stated.

They noted the value of establishing “innovation bridges” in key sectors, including through expos, hackathons, and pitch sessions. They also identified the fields of biotechnology, advanced materials, and rare earth processing technology as areas for future cooperation.

The United States and India underlined their commitment to working to resolve issues related to regulatory barriers and business and talent mobility in both countries through a standing mechanism under iCET, according to the statement.

This followed the January 30 roundtable hosted by the US-India Business Council with US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Sullivan, Doval, and other senior US and Indian officials and brought together more than 40 CEOs, university presidents, and thought leaders from both countries to accelerate opportunities for increased technology cooperation.

To expand and deepen their technology partnership, the United States and India are launching new bilateral initiatives and welcoming new cooperation between our governments, industry and academia in six domains, the White House stated.

Read: Seeds sown for stronger India-US friendship, Modi tells Biden (September 24, 2021)

Strengthening Innovation Ecosystems
Signing a new Implementation Arrangement for a Research Agency Partnership between the National Science Foundation and Indian science agencies to expand international collaboration in a range of areas — including artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and advanced wireless — to build a robust innovation ecosystem between our countries.

Establishing a joint Indo-US Quantum Coordination Mechanism with participation from industry, academia, and government to facilitate research and industry collaboration.

Drawing from global efforts to develop common standards and benchmarks for trustworthy AI through coordinating on the development of consensus, multi-stakeholder standards, ensuring that these standards and benchmarks are aligned with democratic values.

Promoting collaboration on High Performance Computing (HPC), including by working with Congress to lower barriers to US exports to India of HPC technology and source code.

Defense Innovation and Technology Cooperation
Developing a new bilateral Defense Industrial Cooperation Roadmap to accelerate technological cooperation between both countries for the joint development and production, with an initial focus on exploring projects related to jet engines, munition related technologies, and other systems.

Noting the United States has received an application from General Electric to jointly produce jet engines that could power jet aircraft operated and produced indigenously by India, the United States commits to an expeditious review of this application.

Enhancing long-term research and development cooperation, with a focus on identifying maritime security and intelligence surveillance reconnaissance (ISR) operational use cases.

Launching a new “Innovation Bridge” that will connect US and Indian defense startups.

Resilient Semiconductor Supply Chains
Enhancing bilateral collaboration on resilient semiconductor supply chains; supporting the development of a semiconductor design, manufacturing, and fabrication ecosystem in India; and leveraging complementary strengths, both countries intend to promote the development of a skilled workforce that will support global semiconductor supply chains and encourage the development of joint ventures and technology partnerships on mature technology nodes and packaging in India.

Welcoming a task force organized by the US Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) in partnership with the India Electronics Semiconductor Association (IESA) with participation from the Government of India Semiconductor Mission to develop a “readiness assessment” to identify near-term industry opportunities and facilitate longer-term strategic development of complementary semiconductor ecosystems.

This task force will make recommendations to the Department of Commerce and the India Semiconductor Mission on opportunities and challenges to overcome in order to further strengthen India’s role within the global semiconductor value chain, and will also provide input to the US-India Commercial Dialogue.

The task force will also identify and facilitate workforce development, R&D including with respect to advanced packaging, and exchange opportunities to benefit both countries.

Strengthening cooperation on human spaceflight, including establishing exchanges that will include advanced training for an Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)/Department of Space astronaut at NASA Johnson Space Center.

Identifying innovative approaches for the commercial sectors of the two countries to collaborate, especially with respect to activities related to NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) project. Within the next year, NASA, with ISRO, will convene US CLPS companies and Indian aerospace companies to advance this initiative.

Initiating new STEM talent exchanges by expanding the Professional Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program (PESEP) to include space science, Earth science, and human spaceflight and extending a standing invitation to ISRO to participate in NASA’s biannual International Program Management Course

Strengthening the bilateral commercial space partnership, including through a new US Department of Commerce and Indian Department of Space-led initiative under the US-India Civil Space Joint Working Group. This initiative will foster US-India commercial space engagement and enable growth and partnerships between US and Indian commercial space sectors.

Welcoming the visit this week by the ISRO Chairman to the United States, as well as a visit to India by the NASA Administrator later in 2023.

Expanding the agenda of the US-India Civil Space Joint Working Group to include planetary defense.

Read: FACT SHEET: United States and India Elevate Strategic Partnership with the initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) (January 31, 2023)

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Talent
Noting a new joint task force of the Association of American Universities and leading Indian educational institutions, including Indian Institutes of Technology, which will make recommendations for research and university partnerships.

Next Generation Telecommunications
Launching a public-private dialogue on telecommunications and regulations.

Advancing cooperation on research and development in 5G and 6G, facilitating deployment and adoption of Open RAN in India, and fostering global economies of scale within the sector, the White House stated.

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