Key takeaways: Joint Statement on PM Narendra Modi’s Official State Visit to the USA

Context: Recently, India and United States issued a joint statement which affirmed a vision of the two countries as “among the closest partners in the world — a partnership of democracies looking into the 21st century with hope, ambition, and confidence”. It further affirmed that “no corner of human enterprise is untouched by the partnership between our two great countries, which spans the seas to the stars”.

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Following  are the key points from the 58-paragraph Joint Statement, and a ‘Fact Sheet’ issued by the White House:

Technology partnership:

This has eight key elements:

  • Strengthening semiconductor supply chains: 
  • Micron Technology, with support from the India Semiconductor Mission, will invest more than $800 million toward a new $2.75 billion semiconductor assembly and test facility in India. 
  • Applied Materials will build a Semiconductor Centre for Commercialization and Innovation in India to strengthen the two nations’ semiconductor supply chain diversification. 
  • And Lam Research will train 60,000 Indian engineers through its “Semiverse Solution” to accelerate India’s semiconductor education and workforce development goals.

Critical Minerals Partnership: 

  • India has become the newest partner of the US-led Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) that has been established to accelerate the development of diverse and sustainable critical energy minerals supply chains globally. 
  • The MSP, which started in june 2022, has 12 other partner countries, plus the European Union. 
  • India’s Epsilon Carbon Limited will invest $650 million in a greenfield electric vehicle battery component factory, which will be the largest ever Indian investment in the US electric vehicle battery industry.

Advanced Telecommunications: 

  • India and the US have launched public-private Joint Task Forces on the development and deployment of Open RAN systems and on advanced telecoms research and development. 
  • India’s Bharat 6G and the US Next G Alliance will co-lead this public-private research. This work will reduce costs, increase security, and improve resiliency of telecommunication networks.

NASA-ISRO collaboration in space: 

  • India has signed the Artemis Accords, joining 26 other countries committed to peaceful, sustainable, and transparent cooperation that will enable exploration of the Moon, Mars, and beyond. 
  • NASA will provide advanced training to Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) astronauts with the goal of launching a joint effort to the International Space Station in 2024. 
  • NASA and ISRO are also developing a strategic framework for human spaceflight cooperation by the end of 2023.

Quantum, Advanced Computing, and Artificial Intelligence: 

  • The two countries have established a Joint Indo-US Quantum Coordination Mechanism to facilitate joint research between the public and private sectors across the two countries.
  •  They have also signed an implanting arrangement to support joint research on quantum, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and advanced wireless technologies.

Cutting-edge Research: 

  • The US National Science Foundation has announced 35 joint research collaborations with India’s Department of Science and Technology, and signed a new cooperative arrangement with India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on emerging technologies.

Innovation Handshake:

  • To support the US-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET), the US-India Commercial Dialogue will launch a new “Innovation Handshake” to connect the startup ecosystems of the two countries.

Fiber Optics Investments: 

  • India’s Sterlite Technologies Limited has invested $100 million in the construction of an optical fibre cable manufacturing unit near Columbia, South Carolina, which will facilitate $150 million in annual exports of optical fibre from India.

Defence partnership

The highlight of the next-generation defence partnership is the deal to co-produce GE’s F414 combat aircraft engines in India. 

There are several other initiatives as well. Some of them are:

GE F414 Engine Co-Production: 

  • The Joint Statement welcomed the ground breaking proposal by General Electric to jointly produce the F414 jet engine in India. GE and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have signed a MoU, and a manufacturing licence agreement has been submitted for Congressional Notification. 
  • The first-of-its-kind initiative to manufacture F414 engines in India will enable greater transfer of US jet engine technology than ever before.
  • General Atomics MQ-9Bs: 
  • India intends to procure armed MQ-9B SeaGuardian UAVs. The drones will increase India’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities.
  • Service and repair of US Navy ships:
  • The US Navy has concluded a Master Ship Repair Agreement (MSRA) with Larsen and Toubro Shipyard in Kattupalli (Chennai) and is finalizing agreements with Mazagon Dock Limited (Mumbai) and Goa Shipyard (Goa). These agreements will allow mid-voyage US Navy ships to undergo service and repair at Indian shipyards.

More robust defence cooperation: 

  • The two countries advanced steps to operationalize tools to increase defence cooperation. They have resolved to strengthen undersea domain awareness cooperation, and agreed to place three Indian liaison officers in US commands for the first time.
  •  The US and India have also begun negotiations for a Security of Supply Arrangement and Reciprocal Defence Procurement Arrangement that will enable the supply of defence goods in the event of unanticipated supply chain disruptions.
  • Defence “Innovation Bridge”: 
  • The India-US Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) — a network of university, incubator, corporate, think tank, and private investment stakeholders — was inaugurated on June 21, 2023. This programme will facilitate joint innovation on defence technologies and accelerate the integration of India’s private sector defence industry with the US defence sector.

People-centric efforts

The Joint Statement mentions initiatives on visas and student exchanges. It also refers to the historic aviation deal between Air India and Boeing to acquire more than 200 American-made aircraft, and the efforts to resolve trade issues between the two countries.

Domestic visa renewals: 

  • The State Department will launch a pilot this year to adjudicate domestic renewals of certain petition-based temporary work visas, including for Indian nationals, who will no longer be required to leave the country for renewal in eligible categories. 
  • This will be implemented for an expanded pool of H1B and L visa holders in 2024, with the aim of broadening the programme to include other eligible categories.
  • New consulates:
  • The US intends to open new consulates in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, and India looks forward to opening its consulate in Seattle later this year, and to announcing two new consulates in the US, the Joint Statement said.

Student exchanges and scholarships: 

  • The US last year issued a record 125,000 visas to Indian students, and Indians are on track to become the largest foreign student community in the US, with a 20% increase last year alone. 
  • India and the US have launched a new Joint Task Force of the Association of American Universities and leading Indian educational institutions, including the IITs. Additional Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowships for research, administered by the US-India Educational Fund, will advance cooperation between leading scholars in India and the US on climate change.
  •  The US is also enabling up to 100 additional US undergraduate students to study or intern in India via the Benjamin A Gilman International Scholarship Program.

Agreement on cultural property: 

  • The US and India are continuing negotiations for a Cultural Property Agreement which would help to prevent illegal trafficking of cultural property from India and enhance cooperation on the protection and lawful exchange of cultural property.

Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific

Under the heading ‘Leading on the Global Stage’, the Joint Statement refers to various strategic initiatives taken by the two countries.

Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean: 

  • The US will join the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative, a regional initiative inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi in 2015 to promote a safe, secure, and stable maritime domain and promote its conservation and sustainable use. India will continue to participate as an observer in the Partners in the Blue Pacific. 
  • The US and India will hold an Indian Ocean Dialogue with experts and stakeholders from across the Indian Ocean region to promote greater regional coordination.

Sustainable development

  • Energy collaboration: 
  • India and the US will continue to work together to achieve their national climate and energy goals. The US welcomes India’s decision to co-lead the multilateral Hydrogen Breakthrough Agenda to make affordable renewable and low carbon hydrogen globally available by 2030.
  • Green technology: 
  • The Joint Statement mentioned the two countries’ commitment to creating innovative investment platforms that will lower the cost of capital and attract international private finance at scale for renewable energy, battery storage, and emerging green technology projects in India. 
  • It also refers to initiatives taken to decarbonise the transportation sector, and the Global Biofuels Alliance, which has been established by India with the US as a founding member.

Initiatives on health

Fighting cancer and diabetes: 

  • The US National Cancer Institute will foster collaboration between US and Indian scientists through two new grants to develop an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled digital pathology platform, which will be utilized for cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and prediction of therapeutic benefit, as well as AI-based automated radiotherapy treatment for cancers of the cervix, head, and neck.
  • The US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases will also sign an agreement with the Indian Council of Medical Research to further basic, clinical, and translational research on diabetes. 
  • The United States and India will hold a US-India Cancer Dialogue, hosted by President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot, to bring experts together from both countries to identify concrete areas of collaboration to accelerate the rate of progress against cancer.

Fighting terror and drugs

  • It reiterated the call for concerted action against all UN-listed terrorist groups including al-Qa’ida, ISIS/Daesh, Lashkar e-Tayyeba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and Hizb-ul-Mujhahideen.
  • They strongly condemned cross-border terrorism, the use of terrorist proxies and called on Pakistan to take immediate action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for launching terrorist attacks. They called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks to be brought to justice.
  • The Joint Statement also said that the US and India are developing a broader and deeper bilateral counternarcotics framework to disrupt the illicit production and international trafficking of illicit drugs, including synthetic drugs, fentanyl, and precursors.

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