US, India can partner on military use of AI, robotics, biotech and biotech: expert

Ritu Jha-


The key focus of the new South Asia Initiative at Stanford University’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center will be the strategic implications of emerging technologies, trying to understand how India can use them to build its capabilities, and what role they could play in deepening US-India strategic cooperation.

That was how Dr. Arzan Tarapore[Above photo], a research scholar at the Asia-Pacific Research Center, described the effort, speaking to indica soon after hosting a conference titled “A New Agenda for Indian Competitiveness.”
The conference held on May 6 was designed to begin that conversation.

“Critically, we brought together three stakeholder groups — academic researchers, government policymakers, and tech entrepreneurs — that don’t talk to each other often enough,” Tarapore said.
“We at the South Asia Initiative think we can only understand the strategic implications of emerging technologies by involving all three groups in the conversation,” he said. Tarapore’s own work is mainly about military strategy, India’s defense policy, and Indo-Pacific security issues.
Tarapore has previously held research positions at the RAND Corporation, the East-West Center in Washington, and the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. He was also an adjunct assistant professor at Georgetown University, where he taught a master’s level class on grand strategy and military operations.

“There are a range of emerging technologies — including AI, robotics, and biotechnology — that will have a game-changing effect in how militaries prepare for and fight wars,” Tarapore said. “At this stage we still have no idea how these technologies will be fielded, let alone how they will change war fighting. In both the US and India, the defense establishments are only now starting to experiment with some applications of these technologies. They have a long way to go… before they will be able to deploy these technologies and use them in an operationally effective way.”
According to him, both India and the US can help each other.

“Its certainly not a case of the US helping to build Indian capabilities,” Tarapore said, adding, “It’s a two-way street. India and the US both have a range of strengths — and limitations — that shape how they would develop and adopt these technologies. The benefit of the burgeoning strategic partnership between the US and India — and also between other partners like Japan and Australia — is that these partners can find complementary ways to work together. By combining their efforts, ideally from the initial phases of development, they can reap the benefits of teamwork in understanding the best use-cases for emerging tech.”

Bringing up the contentious issue of Russia, He said that the American government could see the difficult position India was in vis a vis Russia.

“India is frustrated with its reliance on Russia and is seeking greater self-reliance, and Washington understands that,” Tarapore said. “Indeed, Washington is actively looking for ways to help address that problem. So actually, what we’ve seen, including with the continuing Quad summits, is that US and Indian interests — along with those of Australia and Japan — remain closely aligned when it comes to Indo-Pacific regional issues. And they are not letting minor differences of perspective on other issues derail that essential cooperation in Asia.”