India has frustrated US by increasing crude oil purchase from Russia, a key source of funding for Moscow's war in Ukraine, and Washington has nudged New Delhi on Moscow while condoning India's hawkish stance on China.

While India is part of Biden administration's signature Asian engagement project Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, it has opted against joining its trade pillar negotiations.
While India is part of Biden administration's signature Asian engagement project Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, it has opted against joining its trade pillar negotiations. (Reuters Archive)

The White House has formally launched a partnership with India that President Joe Biden hopes will help the countries compete against China on military equipment, semiconductors and artificial intelligence. [AI].

"The United States and India affirm that the ways in which technology is designed, developed, governed, and used should be shaped by our shared democratic values and respect for universal human rights," a White House statement said on Tuesday.  

"We are committed to fostering an open, accessible, and secure technology ecosystem, based on mutual trust and confidence, that will reinforce our democratic values and democratic institutions."

Washington wants to deploy more Western mobile phone networks in 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 collaborate on military equipment like artillery systems.

The White House faces an uphill battle on each front, including US restrictions on military technology transfer and visas for immigrant workers, along with India's longstanding dependence on Moscow for military hardware.

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

President Biden and Prime Minister Modi announced the iCET in May 2022 to elevate and expand "our strategic technology partnership and defence industrial cooperation between the governments, businesses, and academic institutions of our two countries."

"The larger challenge posed by China — its economic practices, its aggressive military moves, its efforts to dominate the industries of the future and to control the supply chains of the future have had a profound impact on the thinking in Delhi," said Sullivan.

"This is another big foundational piece of an overall strategy to put the entire democratic world in the Indo-Pacific in a position of strength ... it's a strategic bet by the two leaders ... on the idea that creating a deeper ecosystem between the United States and India will serve our strategic, economic and technological interests."

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Asian engagement project

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 has held its tongue, nudging the country on Russia while condoning India's more hawkish stance on China.

On Monday, Sullivan and Doval participated in a Chamber of Commerce event with corporate leaders from Lockheed Martin Corp, Adani Enterprises and Applied Materials Inc.

While India is part of the Biden administration's signature Asian engagement project Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), it has opted against joining the IPEF trade pillar negotiations.

The initiative also includes a joint effort on space and high-performance quantum computing.

General Electric Co, meanwhile, is asking the US government for permission to produce jet engines with India that would power aircraft operated and produced by India, according to the White House, which says a review is under way.

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Source: Reuters