US, India expand defence cooperation under iCET

2 February, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma

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Under the inaugural US-India collaboration on Critical and Emerging Technology, the United States and India extended their defence cooperation (iCET).

Under the inaugural US-India collaboration on Critical and Emerging Technology, the United States and India extended their defence cooperation (iCET).

United States Principal Deputy Secretary Vedant Patel addressing a briefing on Wednesday (local time) said, “We also expanded our defence cooperation with joint development and production, and this will focus on projects related to jet engines, munition-related technologies, and other systems,” in reply to question on US and India agreeing to cooperate in advanced technology, including in the military field.

The iCET was announced in May 2022 to elevate and expand the strategic technology partnership and defence industrial cooperation between the governments, businesses, and academic institutions of the two countries.

“National Security Advisor Doval in Washington, he had the opportunity to, with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, to kick off the inaugural US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology, which will elevate and expand our strategic technology partnership and defense industrial cooperation,” said Patel.
NSA Ajit Doval was on an official visit to Washington from January 30-February 1. He was accompanied by senior government officials and leaders of Indian industry.

“The two sides discussed opportunities for greater cooperation in critical and emerging technologies, co-development and co-production, and ways to deepen connectivity across our innovation ecosystems,” said Patel.

During his visit, both countries pledged to maintain sustained attention to achieve outcome-oriented goals within specific timetables, according to a news release from the Ministry of External Affairs.
According to the report, the NSA interacted with US officials and stakeholders from the government, Congress, business, academic, and research sectors on a variety of bilateral, regional, and global matters of mutual concern.

Doval met with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, Acting Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, important Senators, and industry leaders in addition to US NSA Jake Sullivan.
On January 31, Doval and Sullivan co-chaired the inaugural meeting of iCET at the White House.

iCET aspires 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 resolve regulatory constraints, export controls, and mobility hurdles.

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 relevance of quantum technologies, the two sides developed a quantum coordination mechanism with participation from industry and academics, according to a news 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 cooperative production of essential goods of mutual interest in the defence manufacturing industry. The US has committed to a prompt examination of M/s General Electric’s licence application to manufacture jet engines in India for indigenously made Light Combat Aircraft. A new Innovation Bridge will be built to connect both sides’ defence startups.

In the sphere of space, there was recognition of the prospects provided by the opening up of India’s space sector, as well as the contribution of Indian space tech businesses to the United States. ISRO and NASA have committed to collaborate on human space flight opportunities, NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) programme, and STEM talent exchanges.

Using credible sources, India and the United States decided to establish a public-private discussion on 5G/6G and ORAN.

During the iCET launch, the Ambassador and NSF Director signed a new Implementation Arrangement between the Department of Science and Technology of India and the National Science Foundation of the United States in the presence of Doval and Sullivan.