The United States is set to remove obstacles that prevent smoother trade with India in critical areas such as defence and high technology, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday.
Washington sees New Delhi as a vital partner in its efforts to push back against China’s expanding influence worldwide, even though the two democracies differ on how to deal with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Sullivan is in India to make final preparations for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s 22 June state visit to Washington, a trip that is being billed as a milestone in relations between the two democracies.
“As we look ahead to the state visit Prime Minister Modi will be embarking upon in Washington next week… a number of the deliverables at the visit are not just bullet points on a page,” Sullivan told a meeting of business and industry in New Delhi.
“They are fundamentally designed to remove those obstacles in defence trade, in high-tech trade, in investment in each of our countries, in taking away obstacles that have stood in the way of our scientists and researchers.”
This includes areas such as research and development, 5G and 6G telecommunication technology, semiconductor supply chains, artificial intelligence, advanced computing and biotechnology, and “specifically on removing barriers to strategic trade”, he added.
The collaboration between the two countries, who were once on opposite sides of the Cold War, follows a partnership launched in January to help the two countries compete against China on military equipment, semiconductors and artificial intelligence.
Last month, Reuters reported that the Biden administration is poised to sign off on a deal that would allow General Electric to produce jet engines powering Indian military aircraft in that country.
Sullivan met Modi and held talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on Tuesday and is scheduled to meet Doval again on Wednesday. He will also meet Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar during the two-day visit.
A statement from the Indian Foreign Ministry said that Sullivan and Doval “encouraged stakeholders on both sides to strive for technology value-chain partnerships that would lead to co-development and co-production of high technology products and services in both countries”.
During his state visit, Modi has been invited to address a joint meeting of Congress. It will be Modi’s second such address, a rare honour for a leader once denied a visa to enter the United States over human rights concerns.