Sun, 10 Dec 2023

Washington [US], January 30 (ANI): India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval arrived in Washington on Monday morning to attend the first formal talks on the Initiative for Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET).

Doval is scheduled to discuss the iCET with his American counterpart Jake Sullivan at the White House on Tuesday afternoon .

"iCET is the next big milestone in India-US Strategic Partnership with a simple objective to take bilateral cooperation to the next level but specifically in areas of interest to India," an official familiar with the India-US deliberations told ANI.

The NSA is accompanied by a high-powered delegation. India's Principal Scientific Adviser, ISRO chairman, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, Secretary of Department of Telecommunications and DG, DRDO, are five high-profile members of the delegation.

There is also an industrial delegation which is scheduled to meet the US side.

iCET was first mentioned in a statement after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden in Tokyo in 2022 on the sidelines of the Quad Leaders Summit.

In the discussions to be held at the White House, there would be sharp focus on aligning Washington and New Delhi's strategic, commercial and scientific approaches specifically in the field of technology.

"Through iCET, India would send a message out to the broader industry that India can be a 'trusted partner' and that the two democracies could discuss how to build a trusted partner ecosystem between US and India where there's free flow of RD and other information pertaining to technology specifically," the official said.

Tuesdays meeting is ought to be outcome-oriented with a clear sense of achievable action points ANI has learnt.

Experts say that there is a hope 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 initiative could be one way forward.

"As China makes extremely fast progress when it comes to technology and one sees an aggressive penetration from the Chinese side across the world, if not stemmed and matched by something aggressive, the world will find it as a fait accompli.... So if one has to roll that progress back, then everybody else has to work together," another official told ANI. (ANI)

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