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NSA Doval US visit, talks on Technology, Defence & Space

By Priti Prakash | PUBLISHED: 01, Feb 2023, 20:51 pm IST | UPDATED: 01, Feb 2023, 20:59 pm IST

NSA Doval US visit, talks on Technology, Defence & Space Washington: National Security Advisor Ajit Doval officially visited Washington DC from 30 January to 1 February 2023. His visit marked his interaction with U.S. policymakers and stakeholders across Government, Congress, business, academic and research communities on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. Apart from his meeting with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, he also met Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, Acting Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, key Senators and industry leaders. He also met Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Together with NSA Sullivan, NSA Doval co-chaired the inaugural meeting of the initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) at the White House, translating into action, the announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joseph Biden during their meeting in Tokyo in May 2022. NSA was joined at the launch by Ambassador of India to the United States, Principal Scientific Advisor, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, Chairman of ISRO, Scientific Advisor to the Raksha Mantri, Director General, DRDO, and other senior officials from National Security Council Secretariat and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. On the US side, NASA Administrator, Director, National Science Foundation (NSF), Deputy National Security Advisor, amongst others participated.

iCET aims to position the two countries as trusted technology partners by building technology value chains and support the co-development and co-production of items. It also aims to address regulatory restrictions, export controls and mobility barriers through a standing mechanism. The US side also assured support to ease export barriers to India in a few critical areas, including through efforts towards legislative changes. Emphasis was placed on strengthening linkages between the startup ecosystems and building innovation bridges in key sectors between the two countries, through expos, hackathons and pitching sessions.

Recognizing the importance of quantum technologies, both sides established a quantum coordination mechanism with participation from industry and academia. In the field of semiconductors, the US supported the development of a fabrication ecosystem in India, and encouraged joint ventures and partnerships for mature technology nodes and advanced packaging. It was agreed to constitute a task force involving 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.

In the field of defense manufacturing, the two sides agreed to focus on joint production of key items of mutual interest. The US committed to expeditious review of the license application submitted by M/s General Electric to produce jet engines in India for the indigenously manufactured Light Combat Aircraft. A new Innovation Bridge will be created to connect defence startups on both sides.

In the field of space, there was appreciation of the opportunities offered by the opening up of India’s space sector, and the contribution of India’s space tech companies in the US. It was agreed that ISRO would work with NASA on human space flight opportunities, NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) project, and STEM talent exchanges.

In next generation telecommunications, given India’s cost-competitiveness and scale, both sides agreed to launch a public-private dialogue covering 5G/6G and ORAN using trusted sources.

During the iCET launch, a new Implementation Arrangement between the Department of Science and Technology of India and the National Science Foundation of the US was signed by the Ambassador and NSF Director. This will expand joint research in CET.

On 30 January 2023, an iCET Roundtable with US and Indian industry at the US Chamber of Commerce was held. It provided an opportunity for sharing of ideas for bolstering high technology partnership between government, industry and academia.

Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu also hosted a reception for NSA at India House at which Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, NSA Jake Sullivan, Acting Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, several high officials from the US Administration, and CEOs of advanced technology companies and funds, heads of leading US universities were present.

An MEA release said, the discussions during this visit form the basis for intensifying India-US cooperation in cutting-edge sectors and are reflective of the maturity of the India-US comprehensive, global strategic partnership. Both countries agreed to maintain sustained attention to achieve outcome oriented deliverables within definitive timelines.
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