U.S.-India Initiative on Critical and Emergency Technology

Why in News?

Recently, India and the United States have taken a significant step towards strengthening their strategic partnership and driving technology and defense cooperation. Under the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (Icet), the two nations have unveiled a roadmap for enhanced collaboration in high-technology areas.
  • The initiative focuses on addressing regulatory barriers, aligning export controls, and fostering deeper cooperation in critical and emerging fields.

What is the iCET?

  • About:
    • The iCET was announced by India and the US in May 2022 and was officially launched in January 2023 and is being run by the National Security Council of both countries.
    • Under iCET, both countries have identified six areas of cooperation which would include co-development and co-production, that would gradually be expanded to QUAD, then to NATO, followed by Europe and the rest of the world.
    • Under iCET, India is ready to share its core technologies with the US and expects Washington to do the same.
    • It aims to promote collaboration in critical and emerging technology areas, including AI, quantum computing, semiconductors, and wireless telecommunication.
  • Focus Areas of the Initiative:
    • AI research agency partnership.
    • Defense industrial cooperation, defense technological cooperation, and defense startups.
    • Innovation Ecosystems.
    • Semiconductor ecosystem development.
    • Cooperation on human spaceflight.
    • Advancement in 5G and 6G technologies, and adoption of OpenRAN network technology in India.
  • Progress Made So Far:
    • Key achievements include the Quantum Coordination Mechanism, public-private dialogue on telecommunication, important exchanges on AI and space, MoU on establishing a semiconductor supply chain, and conclusion of a roadmap for defense industrial cooperation.
    • The two countries are close to finalizing a mega jet engine deal, and a new initiative called the India-U.S. Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) is set to be launched.
    • Strategic Trade Dialogue has been established to address regulatory barriers and review export control norms.

How have been India’s Relations with the US?

  • Economic Relations:
    • The S. has emerged as India’s biggest trading partner in 2022-23 on account of increasing economic ties between the two countries.
    • The bilateral trade between India and the U.S. has increased by 7.65% to USD 128.55 in 2022-23 as against USD 119.5 billion in 2021-22.
    • Exports to the U.S. rose by 2.81% to USD 78.31 billion in 2022-23 as against USD 76.18 billion in 2021-22, while imports grew by about 16% to USD 50.24 billion.
  • International Cooperations:
    • India and the United States cooperate closely at multilateral organizations, including the United Nations, G-20, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.  
    • The United States welcomed India joining the UN Security Council in 2021 for a two-year term and supports a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member.
    • Together with Australia and Japan, the United States and India convene as the Quad to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific and provide tangible benefits to the region.
    • India is also one of twelve countries partnering with the United States on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPFE).
    • India is a member of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), at which the United States is a dialogue partner.
    • In 2021, the United States joined the International Solar Alliance headquartered in India, and in 2022 the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

What is OpenRAN Network Technology?

  • About:
    • It is a non-proprietary version of the Radio Access Network (RAN) system.
      • A RAN is a major component of a wireless telecommunications system that connects individual devices to other parts of a network through a radio link.
    • Allows interoperability between cellular network equipment from different vendors.
  • Advantages of OpenRAN Network Technology:
    • Creates a more open and flexible RAN architecture.
    • Based on open interfaces and virtualization.
    • Supported by industry-wide standards.
    • Cost reduction.
    • Increased competition.
    • Faster innovation.
  • Applications of OpenRAN Network Technology:
    • Supporting 5G and 6G networks.
    • Enhancing network performance and security.
    • Enabling new services and capabilities.
    • Bridging the digital divide.
Source: The Hindu

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