US sees India as tech partner against China

U.S. and Indian officials agreed on Tuesday to expand cooperation in advanced weapons, supercomputing, semiconductors and other high-tech fields, as the Biden administration looks to strengthen ties with Asian allies and offset China’s dominance in cutting-edge technology.

The deals came after two days of high-level meetings in Washington between government officials and top executives from dozens of companies, in a key announcement by President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Tokyo in May. A first for a new dialogue with emerging technologies.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday that the technology partnership aims to be the “next major milestone” in U.S.-India relations, following a 2016 agreement on nuclear power cooperation. He described the effort as “an important foundational part of an overall strategy to put the democratic world in a strong position across the Indo-Pacific region”.

These agreements will be a test of whether the Biden administration can realize its “friendly military outsourcing” proposal to transfer the manufacture of some key components to friendly countries. Biden officials have expressed concern that the U.S. continues to rely heavily on China for semiconductors, telecom components and other vital goods. They have clamped down on the sale of advanced semiconductor technology to China in recent months to thwart an industry the White House says could give China a military advantage.

Many companies are finding it difficult to secure the factory space and skilled workers needed to move supply chains out of China. India has a highly skilled workforce and a government that wants to attract more international investment, but multinational companies seeking to do business there continue to complain about onerous regulations, inadequate infrastructure and other obstacles.

The two Mr. Biden and Mr. Modi also promoted the strengthening of cooperation between the United States and India to jointly build industrial and innovation bases in their respective countries. Sullivan said.

The partnership announced Tuesday includes an agreement between the U.S. and Indian national science agencies to collaborate on artificial intelligence and advanced wireless technology, among other fields.

The two countries also pledged to accelerate efforts to jointly produce and develop certain defense technologies, including jet engines, artillery systems and armored infantry vehicles. The United States said it wanted to review General Electric’s new proposal to partner with India to produce jet engines as soon as possible.

The officials also said they would work together to promote the building of advanced mobile networks in India and seek new collaborations in semiconductor production, including efforts to help India boost chip research and production to complement major U.S. investments in the industry. state.

The countries said the new dialogue would include efforts to address regulatory hurdles and visa restrictions that prevent talented Indians from working in the United States.

But experts say India needs to continue reforming its licensing and taxation regime to attract more foreign manufacturing firms. They say the U.S. needs to reform restrictions on the transfer of defense-related technology abroad if it wants to partner with India to produce jet engines and other advanced weapons.

Analysts also point out that many technology partnerships will depend on new links between the two countries’ private sectors, meaning the deal can only go so far.

India’s frequent purchases of Russian military equipment and its close relationship with Russia also pose another problem for the planned partnership. But Biden officials said they believed such cooperation could benefit India’s relationship with the United States by hastening India’s move away from Russia.

Monday, sir. Sullivan, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, along with more than 40 corporate executives, university presidents and others, including representatives from Lockheed Martin, Tata, Adani Defense and Aerospace Aerospace and Micron Technology executives.

“It has the potential to take US-India relations to a new level,” Tanvi Madan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said of the initiative. The trick, she added, is “going from potential and commitment to results”.

“Many decisions to cooperate or not to cooperate will be made in the private sector, and companies will evaluate the business case, if not more than the strategic case,” she said. Madan said.

India has traditionally been considered a tricky partner for the US in trade negotiations. In the current talks in Asia known as the Indo-Pacific Economic Forum under the Biden administration, India withdrew from the trade portion of the agreement, although it continued to negotiate standards in areas such as clean energy, supply chains and labor.

But analysts say the Indian government is far more motivated on national security issues, particularly attracted by the prospect of partnering with the United States to foster a cutting-edge technology industry.

“We have a common purpose here, which is the fear that China will eat our lunch in all areas, unless we find areas of cooperation and collaboration,” said Richard M. Richard M. Rossow) said. international studies.

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