What is Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET)?
- The Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies is a framework agreed upon by India and the U.S. for cooperation on critical and emerging technologies.
- These emerging technologies include artificial intelligence, quantum computing, semiconductors, and wireless telecommunication.
- Prime Minister Modi and President Biden first announced the framework on the sidelines of the Quad meeting in Tokyo in May 2022.
- It launched in January this year to strengthen its strategic partnership and promote technology and defense cooperation.
Focus Areas of iCET:
Primarily, the iCET seeks to position New Delhi and Washington D.C. as “trusted technology partners” to build supply chains and support the co-production and co-development of items.
Key areas include –
- Setting up a research agency partnership to drive collaboration in areas like Artificial Intelligence;
- Developing a new defence industrial cooperation roadmap to accelerate technological cooperation for joint development and production;
- Developing common standards in Artificial Intelligence;
- Developing a roadmap to accelerate defence technological cooperation and ‘innovation bridge’ to connect defence startups;
- Supporting the development of a semiconductor ecosystem;
- Strengthening cooperation on human spaceflight;
- Advancing cooperation on development in 5G and 6G; and
- Adopting OpenRAN network technology in India.
Progress on iCET:
- India and the U.S. have made “significant progress” in several key areas identified for collaboration since the launch of iCET.
- The two countries have already put in place the Quantum Coordination Mechanism and launched a public-private dialogue (PDD) on telecommunication to drive collaboration in OpenRAN, 5G and 6G.
- In March, India and the U.S. signed an MoU on establishing a semiconductor supply chain. It paved the way for creating a semiconductor sub-committee.
- The committee will review recommendations from an industry-led task force launched in connection with the iCET.
- On the defence front, the two countries are close to concluding a mega jet engine deal.
- In addition, a new initiative to advance cutting-edge technology cooperation, known as the India-U.S. Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X), is set to be launched.
- India and the U.S. have also concluded a roadmap for ‘Defence Industrial Cooperation’ to guide the policy direction for the next few years.
- The two countries have also established a Strategic Trade Dialogue to remove regulatory “barriers” and review existing export control norms to take forward strategic technology and trade collaborations envisaged under iCET.