National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and his visiting American counterpart Jake Sullivan on Tuesday unveiled an ambitious roadmap for Indo-US collaboration in seven specific high-technology areas, including semiconductors, next-generation telecommunication, artificial intelligence and defence.
After the roadmap was unveiled at an event, Sullivan said both sides are looking at a number of "deliverables" during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's upcoming visit to Washington, which are fundamentally designed to "remove obstacles" for a deeper cooperation in the areas of defence, high technology, trade and a greater exchange of students.
The roadmap for collaboration was announced at the second Track-1.5 dialogue on the initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) that was organised by industry chamber CII.
"As we look ahead to the State visit that Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi will be embarking upon to Washington next week, a number of the deliverables at that visit are not just bullet points on a page. They are fundamentally designed to remove obstacles in defence and high-tech trades and in taking away obstacles that have stood in the way of better collaboration among our scientists and researchers," Sullivan said.
In a major move, US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Modi announced the US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) in May last year to elevate and expand the strategic technology partnership and defence industrial cooperation between the two countries.
The formal movement on the framework took place in January.
In his remarks, Doval said the iCET will give an orbital jump to the strategic relations between India and the United States.
The iCET is expected to forge closer linkages between the government, academia and industry of the two countries in areas such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, 5G and 6G, biotech, space and semiconductors.
In his remarks at the Track-1.5 dialogue, Doval said significant progress has been achieved after the launch of the iCET around six months ago and that it will serve as a platform to address regulatory barriers and related issues.
"To kick-start the Indo-US quantum coordination mechanism, we have signed an MoU on semiconductors," he said.
Doval said he sees a bright future for Indo-US cooperation under the iCET framework and that it is time to go for "big ideas".
Besides semiconductors, next-generation telecommunication, artificial intelligence (AI) and defence, the other areas identified for cooperation under the iCET are space, biotechnology and advanced materials.
The separate groups on each area of proposed collaboration made specific recommendations for boosting the cooperation.
Earlier, Doval and Sullivan also held restricted talks covering a number of bilateral and regional issues.
Sullivan arrived here on Tuesday on a two-day visit for talks with Doval, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and other senior Indian officials, ahead of Modi's visit to Washington.
"Earlier today, the two National Security Advisers met for restricted discussions on regional and global issues of mutual interest. Later in the evening, they attended the second Track 1.5 dialogue on iCET organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
The first edition of the dialogue was organised by the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington on January 30.
"We have been able to kick-start the Indo-US quantum coordination mechanism, we have signed an MoU on semiconductors, the public-private dialogue on telecom engaging stakeholders from the government, industry and academia to further open collaboration in open RAN, 5G and 6G," Doval said.
The NSA said he is optimistic that more specific and tangible results will be achieved in the near future.
Most importantly, a strategic trade dialogue has been established, he said, noting that it will serve as a platform to address regulatory barriers and issues relating to exports control.
Doval said the interest shown by the industry, businesses, scientists, research scholars and institutions in the iCET is encouraging and confidence-building.
"The iCET is not a government-to-government arrangement alone, but a collaborative initiative of the industry, academia, research bodies and think-tanks, all making a common endeavour to see India and US in a higher orbit, an orbital jump to our strategic relations, where we are able to build technology capabilities and exploit opportunities," he noted.
Sullivan said the iCET is more than just technology and that it is about people-to-people relationships, building skills as well as trust and confidence between the societies and governments of the two countries.
He said it is also a way to deepen defence cooperation that will help both the countries strategically and economically. He noted that the industry is providing the power and propulsion for this initiative.
Sullivan highlighted that one of the key focuses of the initiative is to remove barriers to collaboration on both sides to maximise the full potential of the bilateral cooperation.
"The US and India are poised to lead in clean energy transformation, shore up and diversify global semiconductor supply chains and supply chains in other critical goods, and lead the revolution in AI, advanced computing, biotech and quantum," he added.
The NSAs addressed the participants at the dialogue, which included leading representatives of the academia and industry from both countries.
Sullivan will also meet with Jaishankar and other dignitaries of the government, the MEA said.
Eric Garcetti, the US ambassador to India, said at the Track-1.5 dialogue that the foundation of the Indo-US ties is strong.
For translating the iCET's vision into human terms, he said there is a need to have the technology that connects, protects and heals people, which is what technology is all about.
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