India, US to restart commercial dialogue, CEO forum later 2022 as artificial intelligence comes under focus

During the 2+2 Ministerial, the two sides discussed their goal of driving inclusive economic growth in the two countries and across the region, said the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Published: 12th April 2022 01:49 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th April 2022 01:49 PM   |  A+A-

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WASHINGTON: India and the US are restarting their bilateral commercial dialogue and the CEO's forum later this year to deepen their bilateral trade and investment relationship, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has announced.

Blinken made this announcement at a joint news conference with Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin along with their Indian counterparts --External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh after the 2+2 Ministerial here on Monday.

During the 2+2 Ministerial, the two sides discussed their goal of driving inclusive economic growth in the two countries and across the region, said the secretary of State.

India and the US already trade to the tune of more than USD 150 billion each year, he said.

"We are deepening that relationship by restarting the US-India commercial dialogue and the US-India CEO forum later this year, where our private sector partners can offer recommendations to strengthen even more our trade and investment relationship," Blinken said.

Earlier during a virtual meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed President Joe Biden's Indo-Pacific Economic Framework Initiative.

"It can allow us to increase our collaboration across more issues including digital trade, supply chain resilience, infrastructure, and tax policy," Blinken said.

The last meeting of the India-US Commercial Dialogue was held on July 2020 through a telephonic conference.

The CEO forum also last met virtually in July 2020.

The forum is an effective platform to highlight key issues that affect business entities and to identify areas for closer collaboration for mutual benefit of both economies.

"And our countries are working together to tackle the climate crisis. The United States is supporting India's ambitious COP26 clean energy commitments by investing in renewable energy projects and mobilising private sector financing," Blinken said.

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference is commonly referred to as COP26.

The two countries also 

have agreed to hold a dialogue on artificial intelligence to harness opportunities for joint innovation and cooperation in new domains, the two countries announced after the 2+2 ministerial.

Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin hosted the fourth 2+2 ministerial dialogue with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Jaishankar.

The Dialogue was preceded by a virtual meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joseph Biden.

"They decided to hold an inaugural AI Dialogue this year to harness opportunities for joint innovation and cooperation in new domains," according to a joint statement issued by India and the US after the 2+2 ministerial dialogue on Monday.

They also discussed additional training opportunities for the respective militaries, and the United States welcomed enhanced Indian participation in advanced courses across these emerging domains.

During the meeting, the Ministers acknowledged the importance of deepening collaboration in science and technology in the US-India Joint Technical Group (JTG), and in evolving new defence domains, including space, artificial intelligence (AI), and cyber.

They underscored the importance of cooperation in space and welcomed plans to conduct an inaugural Defence Space Dialogue in 2022.

They welcomed the second Defence Cyber Dialogue held in 2021 and look forward to the next round this year, said the joint statement.

Recognising the importance of building robust private industry collaboration, the four leaders welcomed ongoing projects under the auspices of the US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), including a project agreement to co-develop Air-Launched UAVs.

They called on both sides to consider additional DTTI projects, such as a counter-unmanned aerial systems (UAS) system and an Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) platform, said the joint statement.

Seeking trusted and resilient defence supply chains, the Ministers welcomed the progress made towards implementation of the Industrial Security Agreement to facilitate collaboration on cutting edge defence technologies between industries.

As such, both sides would explore and further promote the means to encourage reciprocal participation of U.S. and Indian vendors in each other's defence supply chains, it said.

Acknowledging India's focus on developing its domestic capabilities and helping to ensure reliable defence supplies, they committed to work closely across their respective governments on co-production, co-development, cooperative testing of advanced systems, investment promotion, and the development of Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities in India.

"To further enhance defense industrial cooperation in the naval sector, both sides agreed to explore possibilities of utilizing the Indian shipyards for repair and maintenance of ships of the US Maritime Sealift Command (MSC) to support mid-voyage repair of US Naval ships," the joint statement said.


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