U.S., India partnership targets arms, AI to compete with China

WASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) – The White House launched a partnership with India on Tuesday that President Joe Biden hopes will help the countries compete against China in military equipment, semiconductors and artificial intelligence.

Washington wants to install more Western mobile phone networks on the subcontinent to counter China’s Huawei Technologies, to welcome more Indian computer chip specialists to the United States and to encourage companies from both countries to cooperate on military equipment such as artillery systems.

The White House faces an uphill battle on every front, including US restrictions on the transfer of military technology and visas for immigrant workers, along with India’s long-standing reliance on Moscow for military hardware.

Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and his Indian counterpart, Ajit Doval, met with senior officials from the two countries at the White House on Tuesday to launch the US-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies.

“The larger challenge posed by China – its economic behavior, its aggressive military moves, its efforts to dominate future industries and control future supply chains – will have a significant impact on Delhi mindset,” Sullivan said. .

Doval will also meet Secretary of State Anthony Blinken during his three-day visit to Washington DC, which ends on Wednesday.

New Delhi has frustrated Washington by participating in military exercises with Russia and increasing purchases of the country’s crude oil, a key source of funding for Russia’s war in Ukraine. But Washington held its tongue, targeting Russia while condoning India’s increasingly hawkish stance on China.

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On Monday, Sullivan and Doval participated in a Chamber of Commerce event with corporate leaders from Lockheed Martin Corp, (LMT.N) Adani Enterprises (ADEL.NS) and Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT.O)

Although India is part of the Biden administration’s signature Asian engagement project, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), it has chosen not to participate in negotiations on the IPEF’s trade pillar.

The initiative also includes joint efforts in space and high-performance quantum computing.

General Electric Co, ( GE.N ) meanwhile, is asking the US government for permission to build jet engines with India that will power aircraft operated and made in India, according to the White House, which -as an investigation is ongoing.

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New Delhi said that the US government will review General Electric’s application soon and that the two countries will focus on joint production of “key items of mutual interest” in defense.

The two countries also established a quantum technology coordination mechanism and agreed to form a task force with the Semiconductor Mission of India, the India Electronics Semiconductor Association (IESA) and the US Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) to promote -development of semiconductor ecosystems.

India’s space program will work with NASA on human spaceflight opportunities and other projects, the Indian statement said.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Additional reporting by Krishn Kaushik in Delhi; Editing by Chris Sanders, Josie Kao, Himani Sarkar, YP Rajesh and Gerry Doyle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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