The SemiCon Factor : Indo-Pacific Quadrilateral Dialogue


The SemiCon Factor

A salient feature of the Indo-Pacific Quadrilateral Dialogue or Quad has been a concerted effort and joint cooperation on the aspect of critical and emerging technologies. Prime Minister Modi and President Biden recognized this during the second in-principal Quad Summit in Tokyo in 2022 and soon enough, the inaugural high-level dialogue on the Initiative for Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) between both National Security Advisors was initiated to strengthen the defense relationship and consolidating the strategic relationship between Washington and New Delhi.

The iCET dialogue paved the way for important policy outcomes from Prime Minister Modi’s recent state visit and accentuated the level of trust that the United States and India share as major defense partners.

The policy outcomes were wide-ranging from a jet engine deal to drone technology to strengthening the US-India defense ecosystem through INDUS-X, coalescing with defense startups across both countries, a focus on 6G technology, quantum computing, and of course investments in semiconductor manufacturing.

In an era of tech innovation and autonomous warfare, the electronics sector, particularly semiconductors is the new focus. India’s recent SemiconIndia 2023 Conference accentuated this, as the conference with the theme of ‘Catalyzing India’s Semiconductor Ecosystem’ attracted over 8000 people, from 23 countries, and highlighted

India’s growing prowess in the global electronics manufacturing sector.

India, for long had been primarily an agrarian economy, adopted fast to a services-focused economy in the 1990s, as the economy opened up, and today is recalibrating its focus to high-end electronic manufacturing through initiatives such as Make In India and Production Linked Incentives (PLI Schemes).

As India seeks to invest in a clean energy economy, rejig its manufacturing economy, strengthen supply chains, and build on next-gen critical and emerging technologies, it behooves to make semiconductors a priority. As India invests in semiconductors, whose ubiquitous applications across all sectors, from telecom to defense to automobiles advanced computing, will also help fructify its vision of “self-reliance”, a core priority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

There is now increased scope for collaborations with fellow Quad members in the U.S., Japan, and Australia, as New Delhi along with other members of the Quad focuses on deepening the value chain and facilitating the building of a world-class semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem.

Ahead of the G20 Summit, India wants to showcase a vision of being a viable hub for semiconductor design and manufacturing, and the steps are being laid to secure that foundation.


India at 76

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic state visit further elevated U.S.-India relations and enhanced the strategic partnership, both from a manufacturing perspective and brought about collaboration in the field of critical and emerging technologies. The Prime Minister’s visit also puts the U.S.-India strategic partnership in the pantheon of the most defining partnership of the 21st century.

As we take stock of another year of India’s independence, India remains one of the fastest-growing economies as cyclical headwinds and the war in Ukraine affects other G20 economies.

Apropos of the G20, the country’s big G20 moment comes next month, with India holding the Presidency later this year.  Prime Minister Modi’s message ahead of the Summit has been clear- India’s presidency is based on the importance of equitable growth and a shared future for all. 

New Delhi’s priorities are towards climate action, strengthening supply chains, focusing on critical and emerging technologies, and healthcare remains a focus based on the harmful effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The healthcare crisis also saw India’s steely resolve with its pharmaceutical prowess, mass vaccination drive, and delivery of cost-affordable vaccines to emerging markets.

The pandemic also exacerbated the supply chain crisis, and the focus remains to rebuild and restore supply chains that were disrupted by the pandemic. Two other major themes emerge from rebuilding supply chains. The focus is on high-end tech manufacturing with data being the new oil, and semiconductors playing a central role in reshaping technological advantage. As per the recent SemiconIndia 2023 Conference in Gujarat, India is redefining an electronic competitive advantage and working to build a world-class semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem.

India’s manufacturing economy and the country as a hub for semiconductor design and manufacturing are helped by the government’s focus on initiatives such as Make in India and the Production Linked Incentives (PLI schemes).  This is vital as companies and CEOs across board rooms are now adopting a China plus one strategy and India, with its large labor talent pool and the country is in a pivotal position to capture the high-end component manufacturing market.

This has been further accentuated by the trillion-dollar giant Apple. The Cupertino-based company’s decision to open its first retail store in India is an affirmation of the faith that American multinationals have placed in India’s manufacturing potential. Apple’s decision will pave the way for other multinational giants to enter the Indian market.

In the friendshoring era, New Delhi’s ability to produce cutting-edge products and enhance its manufacturing potential will be vital as companies seek to diversify their supply chains.

The manufacturing aspect has a two-way component and on the commercial side, Air India’s decision to procure over 200 American-made aircraft from Boeing is a boost to the American manufacturing economy. The deep synergy in technology was codified earlier this year as both Washington and New Delhi strengthened their strategic partnership through the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) under the aegis of both National Security Advisors. The focus is not just on semiconductors, but rethinking tech partnerships through quantum computing, artificial intelligence, defense, innovation, and advanced telecom, and with the recent success of Chandrayaan-3, space is the next destination, as both ISRO and NASA have agreed to enhance space strategies.

The state visit highlighted the tech synergy with a strong defense component, with the jet engines deal and acquisition of predator drones and a closer defense focus on the Indo-Pacific.

President Biden and Prime Minister Modi will meet again on the sidelines of the G20 summit and reaffirm the strength of the partnerships, which has the power and potential to change the lives of citizens and solve the pressing problems of the 21st century, with a focus on a green economy and energy security and technology to uplift the lives and well-being of millions.


The U.S.-India Strategic Partnership is Best Epitomized By the Synergy in Energy

US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) and our member companies recently participated in the US-India Energy Roundtable chaired by the Honorable Minister, H.E. Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Housing and Urban Affairs and HE Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm, the U.S. Secretary of Energy.

The U.S.-India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership is a collaborative effort between the governments, private sector, and other stakeholder efforts to advance energy security, clean energy innovation, and decarbonization efforts to support the energy transition while ensuring clean energy access.

The dialogue brought together senior executives of leaders from both the private sector and public sector across the United States and India to take stock of the bilateral partnership and discuss avenues for private sector contribution towards India’s energy security and energy transition, under the Strategic Clean Energy Partnership framework.

The U.S.-India energy partnership plays a crucial role in the broader relationship between the two largest democracies of the world. Against the backdrop of India’s G20 presidency and recently concluded U.S.-India Strategic Partnership (SCEP) Dialogue, the discussions served to best understand how the private sector in both countries can work collaboratively with both governments and highlighted incredible opportunities in India’s energy sector, especially in the oil and gas, emerging fuels, and energy transition space.

Both countries have underscored the critical importance of bilateral clean energy engagement and the achievements of the SCEP in being able to strengthen energy security, create new opportunities for clean energy innovation, tackle climate change and create employment in the clean energy sector.

There is a growing energy trade between the two largest democracies as both Washington and New Delhi work towards their renewed commitment to sustainable energy transition, as the countries prioritize access to reliable, affordable, and clean energy supply across nations.

USISPF hosted the “U.S.- India Energy Leaders Panel
Discussion” on the side-lines of the 14th Clean Energy Ministerial and 8th Mission Innovation (CEM14/MI-8) meeting.

Energy leaders from both countries discussed decarbonization of the energy sector, energy security, and economic growth through the lens of the green hydrogen economy.

The panel explored the challenges and opportunities seen by the two diverse economies and discussed navigating the path from a subsidy-supported sector to a fully matured and sustainable hydrogen economy.

Both the U.S. and India are working towards the importance of promoting energy access, affordability, and energy justice in both countries, with a view to the development of net zero villages in India.

Both President Biden and Prime Minister Modi will meet again on the sidelines of the G20 in September as clean energy will be a core priority at the summit.

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Register Now for 2023 U.S. Indo-Pacific Business Forum Virtual Participation:

The Indo-Pacific Business Forum is the leading United States government event to promote trade, investment, and economic cooperation between the United States and its partners in the Indo-Pacific region. The 5th Indo-Pacific Business Forum will take place on January 12, 2023 in Tokyo, Japan with a robust virtual program for participants throughout the Indo-Pacific region and around the world. Virtual features include networking with other attendees, engaging with government and industry stakeholder organizations, and accessing plenary sessions with VIP government officials and private sector executives. The 2023 agenda is available here and you can register here for complimentary virtual participation.

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