US, India must remain at forefront of developing critical technologies, says Ajit Doval

India and the US must remain at the forefront of developing critical technologies as part of a larger strategic interest, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said in presence of his American counterpart Jake Sullivan.

Doval’s comments came a day after he and Sullivan unveiled a raft of transformative initiatives to deepen India-US cooperation in areas of artificial intelligence, semiconductor, critical minerals, advanced telecommunication and defence space.

“The US and India have got to remain at the forefront of technology in case we need to protect and defend our value systems and it is part of a larger strategic interest,” Doval said.

The National Security Advisor (NSA) was addressing the iCET (India-US initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology) industry roundtable hosted by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

The iCET was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden in May 2022 with an aim to forge greater collaboration between India and the US in areas of critical technologies.

On Monday, Doval and Sullivan carried out a comprehensive review of the implementation of iCET during a meeting.

In his remarks at the CII event, Doval highlighted the role of industry in technology and the progress of iCET since its inception, according to a CII statement.

“iCET has achieved more than we could imagine,” Doval said, highlighting the progress made across the defence innovation roadmap and startups, and emphasised the importance of the semiconductor industry.

In his address, Sullivan noted three important buckets for technology partnerships, the first being innovation, the second as production, and the third being deployment.

The top Biden administration official highlighted the importance of innovation and emphasised the need for government support for the private sector.

There exists bipartisan support for Indian industry in the US, he said adding that building the ecosystem and supply chain is the key to production.

Sullivan said that the core of iCET is about the idea of India and US being able to support each other and to encourage greater collaboration in the technology ecosystem, jointly innovate and find solutions to challenges.

Both the NSAs assured the industry that they welcome industry highlighting specific issues and due diligence will be done to resolve any barriers which hold back deeper and closer India US ties.

The Initiative for iCET represents a landmark agreement between the two countries on emerging technologies such as AI, semiconductors, biotech, and defense innovation.

On Monday’s meeting on iCET between Doval and Sullivan, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said both sides took stock of the “significant strides” made by India and the US toward deepening and expanding strategic cooperation across key technology sectors including space, semiconductors, advanced telecommunications, artificial intelligence, quantum, biotechnology, critical minerals and clean energy.

“They also recognized the immense potential that is yet to be explored and harnessed in terms of deeper technology cooperation between the two countries in these sectors,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.

It said both sides discussed the way forward to further facilitate mutual collaboration and address outstanding barriers in trade, technology, and industrial cooperation.

The CII roundtable brought together industry leaders from both countries, as India and the US seek to mobilize private sector investment and partnerships across strategic technology sectors.

The US industry had representation from Thayer Mahan, General Atomics, Jeh Aerospace, Holtec, Cummins, Alsym Energy and Axiom Space.

Indian industry leaders included representatives from 3rdiTech, BHEL, Bharat Forge, Bharti Airtel, Bhukhanvala Industries, Centum Electronics, L&T, Tata Advanced Systems, Tata Power and Tejas Network.

“The industry enlightened the NSAs on their experiences thus far in terms of their bilateral collaboration, their vision on how to take the collaboration forward, and specific areas where government facilitation can play a key role in addressing particular barriers to unshackle further collaboration,” according to the MEA.

Chandrajit Banerjee, the director general of CII, stated that under iCET India and US are working on sectors such as AI, biotech, critical materials and minerals, semiconductors among others to help enable deeper engagement between the two nations.

Sullivan visited Delhi from June 17 to 18, in 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 was 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.