India, US Discuss Strategic Approach in Emerging Technologies through ICET

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval participated in a Track 1.5 event hosted by the US-India Business Council at the US Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, January 31st, 2023. The event was held in Washington D.C. and saw the participation of Doval’s American counterpart Jake Sullivan, who is the National Security Advisor to the President of the United States, and US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. The event was part of the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (ICET), a high-level dialogue aimed at aligning the strategic, commercial, and scientific approaches of the two nations in the field of technology.

The roundtable discussion was held on the sidelines of the ICET official high-level dialogue and was attended by top industry representatives from both India and the United States. Doval arrived in Washington on Monday morning and was welcomed by Indian Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu. The official dialogue between Doval and Sullivan is scheduled to take place on Tuesday afternoon at the White House, with a focus on aligning their nations’ approaches in technology.

ICET is seen as a milestone in the India-US Strategic Partnership and has the objective of taking bilateral cooperation to the next level, specifically in areas of interest to India. The NSA is accompanied by a high-powered delegation consisting of India’s Principal Scientific Adviser, ISRO Chairman, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, Secretary of the Department of Telecommunications, and DG of DRDO, among others. From the United States, besides Sullivan, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, NSC Indo-Pacific Kurt Campbell, Senior director for national security and technology Tarun Chhabra, and State Department’s deputy envoy for the office of critical and emerging technologies Seth Center will be a part of the dialogue.

ICET was first mentioned in a statement after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden in Tokyo in 2022 on the sidelines of the Quad Leaders Summit. The initiative aims to send a message to the broader industry that India can be a trusted partner and that the two democracies can discuss how to build a trusted partner ecosystem between the US and India, with a free flow of R&D and other information pertaining to technology.

The meeting on Tuesday is expected to be outcome-oriented with a clear sense of achievable action points. Experts believe that both India and the United States will be able to specify priority areas of cooperation. ICET has no explicit reference to China, but the Biden administration sees technology development vis-a-vis China as a zero-sum game that the US cannot lose. ICET could be one way forward to roll back China’s progress in technology and work together to prevent an aggressive Chinese penetration across the world.

The ICET high-level dialogue between India and the United States is expected to be a significant step forward in their Strategic Partnership, with a focus on technology cooperation. The meeting is expected to be outcome-oriented and prioritize areas of cooperation. The ICET is seen as a way to work together to stop China’s technological progress and prevent aggressive Chinese penetration worldwide.

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