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.