INDIA: The Biden administration works to wean New Delhi away from Russia and away from China as the US and India intend to exchange cutting-edge defence and computer technology, possibly even working together to produce General Electric Co. jet engines.
The plan’s specifics—known as the US-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies—were revealed on Tuesday, supporting Washington’s larger objective of enhancing military, technological, and supply-chain ties with allies.
The geopolitical difficulties offered by Moscow or Beijing won’t be the only factors driving the framework, according to US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in a briefing.
However, he went on to say that China’s assertive economic policies and military actions had “a deep impact on the thinking in Delhi” as well as other foreign capitals.
When discussing the relationship with reporters on Tuesday, Sullivan said: “The China-Russia factors are genuine, but so is the goal of developing a deep, democratic ecosystem of high technology.” Geopolitics isn’t irrelevant, but it doesn’t fully explain what’s going on in this situation.
India is interested in homegrown GE jet engines because they are used in its combat planes.
A request from GE for permission to authorise joint production of jet engines for Indian warplanes is being considered by US officials, according to Sullivan on Tuesday.
The countries are looking for “rapid and ambitious development,” he said, without making any predictions about when an announcement may be made.
A victory for American diplomacy in the campaign to isolate Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine would be the approval of the manufacturing of GE engines in India, which would be a step toward reducing the nation’s historical reliance on Russia for military hardware.
As a result of its exclusion from the superpowers’ spheres of influence, India presently flies a mixture of Russian, European, and domestically made jets in its fighter fleet.
The project on key and emerging technologies goes beyond GE engines and also involves collaboration on artillery systems, armoured infantry vehicles, maritime security, semiconductors, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence.
Ajit Doval, Sullivan’s Indian counterpart, met him on Tuesday. The pair went to an event on Monday that included university presidents and executives from American and Indian tech companies.
In September, President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit India for the summit of the Group of 20 leaders and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Australia for a meeting of the so-called Quad security partners, which also includes Japan.
Given the weapons trade between India and Russia, Sullivan recognised that the alliance with India carries some dangers, but he emphasised that the idea wasn’t motivated by the conflict in the Ukraine or attempts to soured relations between New Delhi and Moscow.
“I won’t claim that making it easier for India to switch from Russian equipment to other equipment is an insignificant issue; of course it isn’t,” Sullivan said.
The teams are also looking to collaborate on semiconductors, where India can help supply chains become more diverse. According to Sullivan, India wants to increase the capacity of its legacy chip and packaging factories.
The development and implementation of a substitute for Huawei Technologies Co. on telecoms hardware for 5G could potentially be part of such efforts.
As a result of years of US national security activities, the White House is reportedly proposing a complete ban on US companies supplying equipment to China’s Huawei.
According to Sullivan, the obstacle preventing India from establishing its own chip fabrication facilities is “political and policy will,” not a lack of skill or ability.
Finding a skilled workforce is a key component of the US strategy to resume manufacturing advanced semiconductors here in the US.
The US immigration system is also being simplified as part of this approach, and the White House is collaborating with Congress to address current H1B visa problems and make sure the US continues to draw talent in science and engineering.
Also Read: Economic Survey 2023: FDI Equity Inflows Fell Due to Russia-Ukraine Conflict