In Washington, DC, Jaishankar directs focus to science and technology cooperation | India latest news

WASHINGTON: A day after saying that there was no doubt in his mind that India’s “first” partnership in science should be with the United States (US), External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar made official engagements in Washington, D.C., with a meeting focused on technology in its various dimensions at the National Science Foundation on Monday.


During the interaction, Jaishankar met with senior representatives from the administration trio (including top White House and Commerce officials), academics (including university presidents), and industry (including those representing the semiconductor, biotechnology, and computing sectors).

After the meeting, Jaishankar tweeted, “My program began in Washington DC with a roundtable organized by the National Science Foundation. I thank Director Dr. S. Panchanathan for putting together an impressive array of policy, research, industry and academia.” He added that the session dealt with “technological security, trusted research, and talent development.” “Encouraged by enthusiasm for the US-Indian partnership in these areas.”

Among the senior administrative officials at the meeting were Laurie Lucasio, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); Alondra Nelson, Acting Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP); and Taron Chhabra, senior director for technology and national security at the White House National Security Council. Industry leaders include Jamie Goodrich, Vice President of Global Policy at the Semiconductor Industry Association, Dario Gill, Senior Vice President and Director of IBM Research and a member of the National Science Council, and Jason Kelly, founder and CEO of Gingko Bioworks, a project supported by NSF, which has, In the early stages, it also funded Google in reference to its focus on innovation.


The meeting was seen as a sign of forward-looking, multifaceted cooperation between India and the United States in areas that will define the future; These are based on a high degree of strategic confidence and will have dramatic implications for national security, the economy, employment and cutting-edge innovation.

Indian context

The meeting focused on national security and technology, technology workforce development, and economic security, according to a person familiar with the development.

Jaishankar first presented the context of India and its developments in the fields of science and technology. The minister also spoke about how India is focusing on technology development, whether it is through the Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) to boost industrialization or the New Education Policy (NEP) to push pedagogy from traditional methods of learning to focus on creativity and innovation. . During his travels in India, the Minister referred to his meetings with students and researchers who already owned patents, which quickly became a new measure of achievement in a society that had hitherto been focused on classification.


Understandably, the minister also spoke about “reliable data” and “reliable scientific research” and how they can be a key driver of economic growth and innovation. There was a focus on enhancing coordination with what the Indian ambassador to the US, Tarangit Singh Sandhu, who attended the meeting, called the “triple helix of innovation – management, academia and industry”.

Four themes

From the American side, people familiar with the discussions said, nearly all of the speakers highlighted the deep partnership that already exists in at least four aspects.

First, there was recognition of the existing partnerships that existed between research institutions in both countries. Knowledge partnership, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is already a major focus of Indian diplomacy in the United States. Speakers noted the collaboration between Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and US institutions and highlighted the role Indians play in the US technology industry. For example, 40,000 Indian engineers are involved in designing chips for semiconductors in American companies.


The second focus was on the deep economic cooperation that was ensured by the scientific exchanges. The companies pointed to the huge research and development centers they have in India while recognizing the possibilities in emerging technology areas, from artificial intelligence to quantum computing, areas that Jaishankar has identified in the past as key frontiers for the future.

Discussions also took place around the talent pool, with representatives of both academia and industry, how important it was to enable this talent pool to “stimulate bilateral partnership as well as global innovation and growth”.

Finally, the strategic dimensions of technology were a topic of conversation. Participants suggested that the idea was to develop “habits of cooperation” between India and the United States. This was already happening bilaterally and under the Quartet umbrella. In the bilateral framework, the United States and India announced, in May, the Initiative for Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET), “led by the two countries’ National Security Councils to expand partnership in critical and emerging technologies.”


In their joint statement in March 2021 following the first leaders-level summit, the Quartet agreed to “initiate collaboration on technologies critical for the future to ensure innovation aligns with the free, open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific.” A working group on critical and emerging technologies has been formed, focusing on “technical standards, 5G diversification and deployment, horizon scanning, and technology supply chains.” In September 2021, the Quad countries announced a Statement of Principles on the Design, Development, Governance and Use of Technology. At the Leaders-level Summit in May 2022, the four countries in the gathering said they would “strengthen interoperability and security by signing a new Memorandum of Cooperation on Diversification of Suppliers of 5G and Open RAN”. They also issued a statement on the Joint Statement of Principles on Critical Technology Supply Chains.


“first partnership”

The minister’s meeting came a day after he said that promoting science and engineering is vital to India’s future and this was recognized in India.

At a community event on Sunday, Jaishankar said, “From PM (Narendra) Modi down, there is an effort to expand educational institutions, especially in science and engineering, to expand research to say a field like space. If you saw the Covid period, it wasn’t that we were just happy to make Vaccines, there has even been a rise in interest in the areas of health, medicine and science.”

It was important for India, Jaishankar said, to build “deep strengths, have supply chains at home, have patents, have researchers, and have relationships with other countries like the United States.”


“Especially in science and engineering, there is no doubt in my mind that the first relationship should be with the United States. It is a country that has made tremendous achievements in its credibility. It is the foundation upon which American power is built. The American Indian community can be a bridge,” he told expatriates in recognition The role Indians play in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in giving the United States its edge.

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