Washington: The United States and India on January 31 formally established a high-level initiative on critical and emerging technologies or iCET. India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had a ‘fruitful discussion’ with his US counterpart Jake Sullivan at the White House.
In the discussions, there was a laser focus on aligning Washington and New Delhi’s strategic, commercial and scientific approaches specifically in the field of technology. Officials did announce several concrete steps that the initiative will be taking forward from the high-power meeting in Washington.
Sullivan, in an interview with reporters, said that iCET would ‘serve both countries’ deeper strategic interests, according to The Washington Post.
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 hence iCET could be an important way forward.
“The US-India defense and artificial intelligence dialogue is a multi-layered approach and China is one of the dimensions as it is a major challenge to New Delhi and the world,” a senior administration official in Washington told reporters.
On whether there were any geopolitical concerns about China and Russia, Sullivan said, “A big part of the story is fundamentally about a bet on high tech and an industrial innovation policy. That’s at the core of the president’s entire approach to his presidency. So the China-Russia factors are real, but so is the idea of building a deep democratic ecosystem with high technology.”
Sullivan acknowledged the geopolitical dimension of the initiative, saying, “The backdrop of geopolitical competition with China has been a feature of the US-India relationship now for more than a decade.”
“There is much more about India’s rise and the US desire to participate in that rise. This is important with regard to China. I think that they’ve proven themselves time and again, to be a challenge for India and for the world. And I think working together as like-minded countries is a beneficial and necessary part of our Indo-Pacific strategy.” the official added.