Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

What is the iCET Initiative between India-US?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: iCET

Mains level: India-US Technological Partnership


Central Idea

  • India and the US have unveiled a roadmap for enhanced collaboration in critical and emerging technologies under the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET).
  • Its progress was recently reviewed during the second track 1.5 dialogue on iCET, held between NSA Ajit Doval and his American counterpart Jake Sullivan.

Understanding iCET

  • The iCET serves as a framework for India-US cooperation in critical and emerging areas of technology.
  • It was launched in January 2023 to strengthen the strategic partnership and drive technology and defence collaboration between the two countries.
  • The initiative emphasizes the shared democratic values and respect for universal human rights that should shape the development, governance, and use of technology.

Focus Areas of the Initiative

The iCET initiative focuses on several key areas to foster collaboration and deepen the partnership between India and the US. These include:

  • Research Agency Partnership: Establishing a research agency partnership to drive collaboration in areas like artificial intelligence.
  • Defence Industrial Cooperation: Developing a new defence industrial cooperation roadmap to accelerate technological cooperation for joint development and production.
  • Common Standards in AI: Developing common standards in artificial intelligence to ensure compatibility and interoperability.
  • Semiconductor Ecosystem: Supporting the development of a semiconductor ecosystem to strengthen the supply chain and enhance production capabilities.
  • Human Spaceflight Cooperation: Strengthening cooperation on human spaceflight to advance space exploration efforts.
  • Advancing 5G and 6G: Collaborating on the development and deployment of 5G and 6G technologies.
  • OpenRAN Network Technology: Promoting the adoption of OpenRAN network technology in India for a more open and secure telecommunications infrastructure.

Progress Achieved so far

India and the United States have made significant progress in various areas of collaboration under the iCET initiative. Key developments include:

  • Quantum Coordination Mechanism: Implementation of the Quantum Coordination Mechanism to facilitate cooperation in quantum technologies.
  • Public-Private Dialogue (PDD) on Telecommunication: Launch of a PDD focused on collaboration in OpenRAN, 5G, and 6G technologies.
  • AI and Space Exchanges: Important exchanges between India and the US on artificial intelligence and space cooperation.
  • Semiconductor Supply Chain: Signing of an MoU on establishing a semiconductor supply chain, paving the way for further collaboration in this critical sector.
  • Defence Cooperation: Advancements in defence cooperation, including the near-conclusion of a mega jet engine deal and the launch of the India-US Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X).
  • Strategic Trade Dialogue: Establishment of a Strategic Trade Dialogue to address regulatory barriers and review export control norms for strategic technology and trade collaborations.

Future Outlook

  • The India-US iCET initiative holds great promise for enhancing collaboration in critical and emerging technologies.
  • By aligning their efforts in areas such as AI, quantum computing, semiconductors, and telecommunications, India and the United States aim to build trusted technology partnerships and deepen their strategic cooperation.
  • Continued progress in this initiative will pave the way for innovative solutions, economic growth, and shared advancements in critical technology domains for both countries.

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