What US, India Have Agreed on: Tech and defence partnerships, initiatives on Visas and education

  • The Indian Prime minister recently visited the United States of America.
  • The Joint Statement issued by India and the United States affirmed a vision of the two countries as “among the closest partners in the world” and “a partnership of democracies looking into the 21st century with hope, ambition, and confidence”.
  • It stated that “no corner of human enterprise is left untouched by the partnership between our two great countries, which spans the seas to the stars” as a result of this partnership.

Major areas of Cooperation between India-US:

Technology partnership

  • Strengthening semiconductor supply chainsMicron Technology, will invest more than $800 million in a new semiconductor assembly and test facility in India that will have a total cost of $2.75 billion, with assistance from the India Semiconductor Mission.
    • Applied Materials will build a Semiconductor Centre for Commercialization and Innovation in India to strengthen the two nations’ semiconductor supply chain diversification.
    • It is expected 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 with the purpose of accelerating the development of diverse and sustainable supply chains for critical energy minerals across the globe.
    • The MSP, which started in june 2022, has 12 other partner countries, plus the European Union. India’s Epsilon Carbon Limited will invest an investment of $650 million in a greenfield battery component factory for electric vehicles, 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.
    • This joint public-private research initiative will be co-led by India’s Bharat 6G and the US Next G Alliance. The completion of this work will result in a decrease in costs, an increase in network security, and an improvement in the network’s resilience.
  • 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.
    • Both nations has signed an implanting arrangement to support joint research on quantum, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and advanced wireless 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:

  • GE F414 Engine Co-Production:
    • The Joint Statement welcomed the groundbreaking 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.
  • 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.

Areas of Contention

  • High tariffs as imposed by India – the USA wants these to reduce and want India to have a more predictable regime. Although the USA and India’s trade grew by 10 % per annum for the past 2 years it has much more potential.
  • Movement of skilled persons – Current US President had always made immigration as an election theme. This rhetoric could sharpen in the election year.
  • Issue of the civil Nuclear cooperation deal signed in 2008: Because of the nuclear liability law in India and Westinghouse’s bankruptcy, it has not been implemented.
  • USA and Pakistan proximity and Taliban issue –USA- Pakistan and Taliban deal are important criteria for India to test the USA. Pakistan has consistently lobbied with the USA to mediate between India and Pakistan on J& K issue. However, India has consistently maintained that India sees no scope or role for third-party involvement on Kashmir.
  • ‘America First’ ideology– It has created inconsistencies between ‘Make in India’ and ‘America First’ push to indigenisation.
  • Data localisation requirements of India
  • New e-commerce regulations
  • USA extraterritorial sanctions – During Trump’s presidency USA imposed several extraterritorial sanctions (CAATSA) targeting Russia and Iran which would have direct ramifications for India.

Way Forward

  • The areas where the bilateral partnership has the potential of evolving most positively for India relate to health, education and science and technology.
  • Despite the historic nuclear deal (2008), civilian nuclear cooperation has not taken off, but the agreement with Westinghouse to build six nuclear reactors will finally bring US nuclear energy on Indian soil.
  • India needs to fully engage with the US and other partners in the Indo-pacific region to counter China in maritime domain in order to preserve the freedom of navigation and the rules-based order.


  • This multiple areas of cooperation between both the nations shapes the new height in relation India- USA relation which is going  to play a crucial role in further  reshaping the relations between the two countries.