Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) [UPSC Notes]

The Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies or iCET is a framework agreed upon by India and the U.S. for cooperation on critical and emerging technologies in areas such as wireless telecommunication, artificial intelligence (AI), semiconductors and quantum computing. This is a big step towards enhanced ties between India and the United States. This topic is important for the IAS exam international relations segment.

What is iCET?

The iCET was initially announced in May 2022 by both countries and it was launched in January 2023. This initiative elevates the bilateral strategic relationship between India and the US to new heights.

  • Both countries will share their core technologies as per this agreement.
  • Some of the key focus areas are:
    • Setting up a research agency partnership to drive collaboration in areas like AI 
    • Innovation ecosystems
    • Defense industrial & technological cooperation and defense startups
    • Cooperation in human spaceflight
    • Semiconductor ecosystem development
    • Advancement in 5G and 6G technologies
    • Adoption of OpenRAN network technology in India

iCET Focus Areas

As per a White House fact sheet released, the US and India will expand and deepen their technology partnership and to this effect, will launch new bilateral initiatives and encourage cooperation between the countries’ governments, industry and academia. The areas of focus for the initiatives are discussed below.

  • Strengthening Innovation Ecosystems 
    • Signing a new Implementation Arrangement for a Research Agency Partnership between the National Science Foundation (US) and Indian science agencies to expand international collaboration in including artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and advanced wireless
    • Setting up a joint Indo-U.S. Quantum Coordination Mechanism
    • Developing common standards and benchmarks for trustworthy AI
    • Promoting collaboration on High Performance Computing (HPC), including by working with the US Congress to lower barriers to U.S. exports to India of HPC technology and source code 
  • Defense Innovation and Technology Cooperation
    • Developing a new bilateral Defense Industrial Cooperation Roadmap to accelerate technological cooperation between India and the US for the joint development and production
    • US review of an application received from General Electric to jointly produce jet engines that could power jet aircraft operated and produced indigenously by India
    • Strengthening long-term R&D cooperation, with a focus on identifying maritime security and intelligence surveillance reconnaissance (ISR) operational use cases
    • Starting a new “Innovation Bridge” to connect American and Indian defense startups
  • Resilient Semiconductor Supply Chains
    • Setting up of a task force organized by the U.S. Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) in partnership with the India Electronics Semiconductor Association (IESA) with participation from the GOI’s Semiconductor Mission to create a “readiness assessment” to identify near-term industry opportunities and enable the longer-term strategic development of complementary semiconductor ecosystems
  • Space
    • Strengthening cooperation on human spaceflight including training for ISRO astronauts at NASA facilities
    • Expanding the Professional Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program (PESEP) entailing invitations to ISRO to participate in NASA’s biannual International Program Management Course
    • Fortifying the bilateral commercial space partnership
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Talent
    • Task force of the Association of American Universities and leading Indian educational institutions for research and university partnerships
  • Next Generation Telecommunications
    • Launching a public-private dialogue on telecommunications and regulations
    • Advancing cooperation on research and development in 5G and 6G, facilitating deployment and adoption of Open RAN in India, and fostering global economies of scale within the sector

Read more on India – US relations in the linked article.

Progress so far and the way forward

Since the launch of the iCET, both countries have shown progress in achieving what they set out to achieve through this initiative. INDUS-X, a major initiative exploring the possibility of the co-production of jet engines, was launched under the iCET. Both countries have also signed an MoU on establishing a semiconductor supply chain that paved the way for creating a semiconductor sub-committee to review recommendations from an industry-led task force launched in connection with the iCET. With the iCET, collaboration between India and the US is set to enhance tremendously on defence and technology.

iCET:- Download PDF Here

Related Links
Cybersecurity India – Vietnam Relations
Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) Bharat 6G Vision
Indo-US Military Agreements US-India Preferential Trade


Leave a Comment

Your Mobile number and Email id will not be published.