Antony Blinken: US expanding cooperation with India to address global challenges

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and said America is expanding its cooperation with India to address global challenges.

“The United States is expanding cooperation with India to address global challenges. I had a good meeting with Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval today to discuss deepening our strategic partnership,” Blinken tweeted. Doval is on an official visit to Washington from January 30-February 1. He is accompanied by senior government officials and leaders of Indian industry.

India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu hosted NSA Doval, US Senators Mark Warner, and John Cornyn at India House and held talks on advancing ties.

“Pleasure to host NSA Ajit Doval, Senator @MarkWarner & Senator @JohnCornyn, Chair & Member of the Select Committee on Intelligence & co-chairs of the India Caucus, at India House. Important conversation on advancing ties,” Sandhu tweeted.

During his visit, both nations agreed to maintain sustained attention to achieve outcome-oriented deliverables within definitive timelines, the Ministry of External Affairs said in the press release.

NSA interacted with US policymakers and stakeholders across government, Congress, business, academic and research communities on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest, it said.

Apart from his meeting with US NSA Jake Sullivan, Doval held a meeting with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, Acting Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, key Senators and industry leaders. He is scheduled to meet Secretary of State Anthony Blinken later during the visit, the press release said.

Doval and Sullivan co-chaired the inaugural meeting of the initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) at the White House on January 31.

The announcement regarding the initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden during their meeting in Tokyo in May 2022.

Doval was joined at the iCET launch by the Ambassador of India to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Principal Scientific Advisor, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, Chairman of ISRO, Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, Director General, DRDO, and other senior officials from National Security Council Secretariat and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

From 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 supporting 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 has assured support to ease export barriers to India in a few critical areas, including through efforts towards legislative changes.

At the launch, 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, as per the press release.

Considering the importance of quantum technologies, the two sides established a quantum coordination mechanism with participation from industry and academia, the Ministry of External Affairs said in the press release.

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, according to the press release.

In the defence manufacturing sector, India and US agreed to focus on joint production of key items of mutual interest.

The US committed to an 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 established to connect defence startups on both sides.

In the field of space, there was an appreciation of the opportunities offered by the opening up of India’s space sector and the contribution of India’s space tech companies to the United States.

Both sides agreed that ISRO will work with NASA on human space flight opportunities, NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) project and STEM talent exchanges. India and US 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 in the presence of Doval and Sullivan.

Taranjit Singh Sandhu tweeted, “Deepening bilateral cooperation in S&T Delighted to sign the Implementation Arrangement between Dept of Science & Tech @IndiaDST and National Science Foundation @NSF, along with my good friend Panch @DrPanch and in the presence of NSAs Ajit Doval and @JakeSullivan46.”

During the visit, an iCET Roundtable with the US and Indian industry at the US Chamber of Commerce was held. It provided an opportunity for sharing of ideas for bolstering high-technology partnerships between government, industry and academia, according to the press release.

Ambassador Sandhu on January 31 also hosted a reception for NSA at India House. US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, 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 participated in the reception.

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