India-US deepen ties, first strategic trade dialogue on June 4-5

May 15, 2023 07:00 AM IST

Vinay Kwatra will be travelling to the US next month to meet Alan Estevez for the strategic trade dialogue meeting.

Expanding their multi-level engagement, India and US will hold the first meeting of Strategic Trade Dialogue on June 4-5 to implement the outcomes of the initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) by streamlining export controls, enhancing high-tech commerce and facilitating tech transfer between the two countries.

File photo of US President Joe Biden and Indian PM Narendra Modi
File photo of US President Joe Biden and Indian PM Narendra Modi

The first iCET dialogue between the National Security Advisors of the two countries took place on January 31, and the decision to hold the strategic trade meeting was taken when US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo came to India for relaunching the bilateral commercial dialogue on March 10.

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Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra will be travelling to the US early next month to meet Under-Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Alan Estevez for the strategic trade dialogue meeting as well as to make last-minute preparations for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s June 22 visit to the White House to meet US President Joseph Biden.

PM Modi is expected to meet President Biden during the May 19-21 G-7 meeting in Japan, then during the QUAD summit on May 24, and the two leaders will be crossing each other at Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea on May 22 as part of critical engagement of the Far Pacific nations. While the US is expected to open up defence cooperation with PNG to counter the expanding footprint of Chinese security in the Solomon Islands next door, PM Modi will be extending a $100 million credit line to the Island nation as part of India’s comprehensive engagement with the Far Pacific.

As a part of India and the US engagement, particularly in the Indo-Pacific, Kwatra is expected to ensure that all hurdles under International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR) are smoothened for US companies to do engage in joint and production of hi-tech systems such as aircraft engines, munition technologies and armed drones in India.

According to diplomats based in Washington and New Delhi, the US is expected to clear General Electric’s application to jointly produce F-414 jet engines in India for the Tejas Mark II before PM Modi’s visit to the US. US defence major GE is also talking to its ancillary partners in the EU to shift manufacturing for F-414 engines to India. The US is also ready to supply armed drones to India to counter the Chinese armed drone menace all along the LAC.

Apart from launching an innovation bridge that will connect Indian and US defence startups, India is also seeking US intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) technology for increased maritime domain awareness in the Indo-Pacific. Besides, the two countries are actively collaborating in establishing semiconductor-resilient supply chains in India with an eye on the Chinese military threat to Taiwan and the semiconductor industry based there.

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    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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