Modi, Biden affirm a vision of the US and India as among the closest partners in the world
Prime Minister Narendra Modiâ€™s historic state visit has yielded a slew of defense and technology deals for coproduction to let India coproduce jet engines and armed SeaGuardian drones and even get a shot at the Moon.
The deals were outlined in a joint statement issued after Modiâ€™s bilateral meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday after a grand welcome ceremony including a 19 gun salute watched by thousands of Indian Americans.
The two leaders “affirmed a vision of the United States and India as among the closest partners in the world – a partnership of democracies looking into the 21st century with hope, ambition, and confidence.â€
â€œThe US-India Comprehensive Global and Strategic Partnership is anchored in a new level of trust and mutual understanding and enriched by the warm bonds of family and friendship that inextricably link our countries together,â€ they noted.
â€œTogether, we will build an even stronger, diverse US-India partnership that will advance the aspirations of our people for a bright and prosperous future grounded in respect for human rights, and shared principles of democracy, freedom, and the rule of law,â€ the two leaders declared.
â€œOur cooperation will serve the global good as we work through a range of multilateral and regional groupings â€“ particularly the Quadâ€“ to contribute toward a free, open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific. No corner of human enterprise is untouched by the partnership between our two great countries, which spans the seas to the stars.â€
Modi hailed the jet engine deal signed between GE and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) as a “landmark” while the US called it as both “groundbreaking” and â€œtrailblazing.” GE will jointly manufacture F-414 engines in India with HAL for use in the next generation of Tejas fighter jets.
The deal “will enable greater transfer of US jet engine technology than ever before,â€ according to the joint statement. “The leaders committed their governments to working collaboratively and expeditiously to support the advancement of this unprecedented co-production and technology transfer proposal,â€ it said.
Modi and Biden welcomed India’s plans to buy General Atomics’s armed MQ-9B SeaGuardian UAVs, which will be assembled in India.
The drones will enhance the ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) capabilities of India’s armed forces across domains. General Atomics will also establish a Comprehensive Global MRO facility in India to support India’s long-term goals to boost indigenous defense capabilities, in a nod to the Prime Minister’s “Make in India” campaign.
Defense announcements also included the adoption of a Defense Industrial Cooperation Roadmap to provide policy direction to defense industries and enable co-production of advanced defense systems, and Master Ship Repairs Agreement with Indian shipyards for US navy ships to go for repairs.
Technology featured “very prominently” in the discussions between Modi and Biden according to Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra with the joint statement clearly listing at least 21 initiatives cutting across domains and sectors and spanning everything from technology transfer to technology trade, to trade in technology products, and technology services.
â€œThe leaders hailed the inauguration of the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) in January 2023 as a major milestone in US-India relations” and “called on our governments, businesses, and academic institutions to realize their shared vision for the strategic technology partnershipâ€ according to the joint statement.
â€œThe leaders recommitted the United States and India to fostering an open, accessible, and secure technology ecosystem, based on mutual confidence and trust that reinforces our shared values and democratic institutions.”
The joint statement listed out between 20 and 25 areas of new partnership or initiatives, including: $825 million investment by Micron Technology, Inc to build a new semiconductor assembly and test facility in India; Lam Research proposing to train 60,000 Indian engineers; Applied Materials, Inc, to invest $400 million to establish a collaborative engineering center in India.
Biden deeply appreciated Indiaâ€™s signing of the Artemis Accords, which advance a common vision of space exploration for the benefit of all humankind, according to the joint statement.
Announcing the deal at the joint press briefing, Modi said, “By taking the decision to join the Artemis Accords, we have taken a big leap forward in our space cooperation. In fact, in short, for India and America’s partnership, even the sky is not the limit.”
Biden and Modi â€œset a course to reach new frontiers across all sectors of space cooperationâ€ and applauded our growing cooperation on earth and space science, and space technologies.:
“They welcomed the decision of NASA and ISRO to develop a strategic framework for human spaceflight cooperation by the end of 2023,” according to the joint statement.
The leaders hailed the announcement by NASA to provide advanced training to Indian astronauts at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, with a goal of mounting a joint effort to the International Space Station in 2024.
They celebrated the delivery of the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) satellite to ISROâ€™s U.R. Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru, India, and looked forward to NISARâ€™s 2024 launch from India.
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Welcoming Indiaâ€™s Space Policy â€“ 2023, the leaders called for enhanced commercial collaboration between the US and Indian private sectors in the entire value chain of the space economy and to address export controls and facilitate technology transfer.
The two sides also launched Joint Task Forces on advanced telecommunications, focused on Open RAN and research and development in 5G/6G technologies, in pursuit of the two leaders’ vision of “creating secure and trusted telecommunications, resilient supply chains, and enabling global digital inclusion.â€
The two sides announced the establishment of the Indo-US Quantum Coordination Mechanism to facilitate collaboration among industry, academia, and government, and work toward a comprehensive Quantum Information Science and Technology agreement.
The ongoing cooperation in research between the the US National Science Foundation and India’s Department of Science and Technology a new implementation agreement between them will enable them to fund both sides will fund joint projects in computer and information science and engineering, cyber physical systems, and secure and trustworthy cyberspace.
On clean energy, the two sides noted India’s VSK Energy LLC’s plan to invest up to $1.5 billion to develop a new, vertically integrated solar panel manufacturing operation in the US and India’s JSW Steel USA’s plans to invest $120 million at its Mingo Junction, Ohio, steel plant to better serve growing markets in the renewable energy and infrastructure sectors.
Modi and Biden also took stock of the ongoing discussions between US’s the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC) for the construction of six nuclear reactors in India, a byproduct of the 2008 India-US civil nuclear agreement.
The leaders welcomed “intensified consultations” with Westinghouse to develop a techno-commercial offer for the Kovvada nuclear project.
Modi and Biden also took stock of global and regional developments. They expressed their “deep concern over the conflict” in Ukraine and underscored the need to reform and strengthen the multilateral systems such as the UN Security Council.
Although the joint statement made no mention of it, the US backs Indiaâ€™s claim to a permanent membership of the expanded Security Council.
Standing together against terrorism, the two leaders “reiterated the call for concerted action” against all UN-listed terrorist groups including Al-Qa’ida, ISIS/Daesh, Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and Hizb-ul-Mujhahideen.â€
Modi and Biden â€œcalled for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks to be brought to justice,â€ according to the joint statement.
Their discussions also covered trade and commerce and health. India restated its desire for the reinstatement of its special trading rights under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) under which some Indian goods could enter the US market at zero tariff.