From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : iCET
Mains level : India-US bilateral relations and High technology cooperation
- The talks between India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his American counterpart Jake Sullivan in Washington this week have concluded with the announcement of a new road map for deeper military and techno-economic cooperation between the two countries that is iCET.
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Background: Idea first mooted in QUAD summit
- The idea was first mooted in the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden on the margins of the Tokyo summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) last May.
Ups and downs in high technology cooperation in US-India relations
- Early advances in India’s nuclear and space programs: High technology cooperation has long been a major focus of US-India relations. Early advances in India’s nuclear and space programmes in the 1950s and 1960s involved significant inputs from the US.
- US nuclear sanctions and reduced cooperation: But the US nuclear sanctions from the 1970s steadily whittled down the extent of bilateral high-tech cooperation.
- Civil nuclear initiative renewed cooperation: The historic civil nuclear initiative of 2005 opened the door for renewed technological cooperation.
- Political ambivalence bureaucratic inertia prevented best use: But residual restrictions on technology transfer in Washington and Delhi’s political ambivalence and bureaucratic inertia prevented the best use of the new possibilities.
- The iCET process and new possibilities ahead: The iCET process, which will be monitored and driven from the PMO in Delhi and the White House in Washington, will hopefully bring greater coherence to this round of India-US technological engagement.
What is Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET)?
- Cooperation in emerging technology: The iCET is a partnership between India and the US to work together in developing important and new technologies.
- Areas of collaboration for instance: The iCET involves collaboration in a range of areas including quantum computing, semiconductors, 5G and 6G wireless infrastructure, and civilian space projects such as lunar exploration.
- Adding depth and breadth to already growing partnership: The iCET’s goal is to increase the technology interaction between the US and India while also potentially adding additional strategic depth and breadth to their growing partnership.
- Directly monitored by PMO and White house: The Prime Minister’s Office in Delhi and the White House in Washington will oversee and direct the iCET.
Significance of iCET for India
- The importance of iCET in the context of assertive China: Lending urgency to the iCET is the growing convergence of Indian and US interests in managing the security, economic, and technological challenges presented by a rising and assertive China.
- India’s alternative for dependence on Russian military technology: India is also looking to reduce its over dependence on Russian weapons and military technology and to produce more weapons at home in partnership with western countries.
- Boost to India’s technological capabilities: The iCET would provide India with access to cutting-edge technology and expertise in areas that are critical and emerging in nature.
- Economic growth: Working together on new and important technologies can lead to more business between India and the US, which can help the economy grow as it will bring more investment and employment opportunities.
Other focus area: Cooperation in defence production
- The two sides are also focused on cooperation in defence production.
- While much of this cooperation will need to be fleshed out in the months ahead, Doval and Sullivan announced one concrete measure the making of a fighter jet engine in India.
- GE Aerospace has applied for an export licence for jet engine production and phased transfer of technology to Indian entities. Washington promises to process this application expeditiously. This fits in nicely with Delhi’s plans to modernise its rusty defence industrial base.
- If implemented with speed and purpose, the bilateral Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) could lend a new strategic depth and breadth to the expanding engagement between India and the United States.
Q. What is Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET)? Discuss the Importance of iCET especially for India.
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