Ajit Doval meets USIPF board members, discuss enhancing cooperation in defence, space

3 February, 2023 | Pragati Singh

Doval Top News

Doval met with board members of the USIPF and discussed collaboration in defence, space, cybersecurity, underwater, and novel intelligence.

According to a statement provided by USIPF, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met with board members of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USIPF) and discussed strengthening collaboration in defence, space, cybersecurity, underwater, and novel intelligence.

Doval and board members discussed strengthening collaboration in surveillance, constructing sophisticated reconnaissance systems, and US prohibitions on technology export during the one-hour discussion on Wednesday.

The US-India Strategic Collaboration Forum (USISPF) is dedicated to building the strongest partnership possible between the United States and India. As the sole independent not-for-profit institution in Washington, D.C. and New Delhi dedicated to building the US-India partnership, USISPF is a trusted partner for corporations, non-profit organisations, the diaspora, and the governments of India and the United States.

According to the statement, defence cooperation between the United States and India has only improved over the years since the landmark nuclear agreement. This meeting emphasised US defence companies’ commitment to producing military hardware under the Government of India’s AtmanirbharBharat (Self-Reliant) initiative, as well as advanced cybersecurity and artificial intelligence technologies (AI).

Members of the USISPF discussed how the private sector can band together and collaborate with both governments on traditional defence capability and deep-tech collaboration, particularly in the era of autonomous weapons, where non-state actors pose a pernicious threat to a nation’s vulnerability.
USIPFF president and CEO Mukesh Aghi stated at the meeting that the NSA received in the US marks a high point in the defence and strategic relationship between Washington and New Delhi.

“It also accentuates the level of trust that the United States has in India, as a key defense partner, despite not being a treaty ally. USISPF believes it is time for the U.S. to remove the export barriers of the late 1990s and allow its private sector to work with its Indian counterpart to take the U.S.-India defense partnership to the next level,” he said.

As India and the United States discuss increased cooperation in critical and emerging technologies, USISPF will collaborate with both governments and the private sector to improve synergy across defence security, cyber security, artificial intelligence, and the Make in India initiative to establish India as an Indo-Pacific defence manufacturing hub.

Ajit Doval, the National Security Advisor, was in Washington from January 30 to February 1. He was accompanied by senior government officials and Indian industry leaders. During his visit, both countries agreed to maintain sustained attention to achieve outcome-oriented deliverables within specific timelines, according to a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs.

According to the report, the NSA interacted with US policymakers and stakeholders from the government, Congress, business, academic, and research communities on a variety of bilateral, regional, and global issues of mutual interest. Doval met with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, Acting Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, important Senators, and industry executives in addition to his meeting with US NSA Jake Sullivan.

On January 31, Doval and Sullivan co-chaired the inaugural meeting of iCET at the White House.
iCET aims to establish the two countries as trusted technology partners by establishing technology value chains and facilitating item co-development and co-production. It also intends to use a standing mechanism to address regulatory restrictions, export controls, and mobility barriers.

The US side has pledged help for lowering export barriers to India in a few key areas, including legislative changes. According to the press release, the launch focused on establishing links between startup ecosystems and building innovation bridges in important areas between the two countries through expos, hackathons, and pitching sessions.

Given the importance of quantum technologies, the two sides established a quantum coordination mechanism with participation from industry and academia, according to a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs. In the sphere of semiconductors, the US fostered collaborative ventures and partnerships for mature technological nodes and advanced packaging, as well as the creation of an Indian fabrication ecosystem.

According to the press release, it was agreed to form a task force comprised of India’s Semiconductor Mission, India Electronics Semiconductor Association (IESA), and the US Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) to develop a’readiness assessment’ to identify near-term opportunities and facilitate longer-term development of semiconductor ecosystems.

India and the United States agreed to focus on joint production of key items of mutual interest in the defence manufacturing sector. The US has committed to a prompt review of M/s General Electric’s licence application to manufacture jet engines in India for indigenously manufactured Light Combat Aircraft. A new Innovation Bridge will be built to connect both sides’ defence startups.