Washington: US and India expanded their defence cooperation under the inaugural US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET).

United States Principal Deputy Secretary Vedant Patel addressing a briefing on Wednesday (local time) said, "We also expanded our defence cooperation with joint development and production, and this will focus on projects related to jet engines, munition-related technologies, and other systems," in reply to question on US and India agreeing to cooperate in advanced technology, including in the military field.

The iCET was announced in May 2022 to elevate and expand the strategic technology partnership and defence industrial cooperation between the governments, businesses, and academic institutions of the two countries.

"National Security Advisor Doval in Washington, he had the opportunity to, with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, to kick off the inaugural US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology, which will elevate and expand our strategic technology partnership and defense industrial cooperation," said Patel.

NSA Ajit Doval was on an official visit to Washington from January 30-February 1. He was accompanied by senior government officials and leaders of Indian industry.

"The two sides discussed opportunities for greater cooperation in critical and emerging technologies, co-development and co-production, and ways to deepen connectivity across our innovation ecosystems," said Patel.

During his visit, both nations agreed to maintain sustained attention to achieve outcome-oriented deliverables within definitive timelines, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a press release.

The NSA interacted with US policymakers and stakeholders across government, Congress, business, academic and research communities on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest, it said.

Apart from his meeting with US NSA Jake Sullivan, Doval held a meeting with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, Acting Secretary of Defence Kathleen Hicks, key Senators and industry leaders.

Doval and Sullivan co-chaired the inaugural meeting of iCET at the White House on January 31.

iCET aims to position the two countries as trusted technology partners by building technology value chains and supporting the co-development and co-production of items. It also aims to address regulatory restrictions, export controls and mobility barriers through a standing mechanism.

The US side has assured support to ease export barriers to India in a few critical areas, including through efforts towards legislative changes. At the launch, emphasis was placed on strengthening linkages between the startup ecosystems and building innovation bridges in key sectors between the two countries, through expos, hackathons and pitching sessions, as per the press release.

Considering the importance of quantum technologies, the two sides established a quantum coordination mechanism with participation from industry and academia, the Ministry of External Affairs said in the press release. In the field of semiconductors, the US supported the development of a fabrication ecosystem in India and encouraged joint ventures and partnerships for mature technology nodes and advanced packaging.

It was agreed to constitute a task force involving India's Semiconductor Mission, India Electronics Semiconductor Association (IESA) and the US Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) to develop a "readiness assessment" to identify near-term opportunities and facilitate longer-term development of semiconductor ecosystems, according to the press release.

In the defence manufacturing sector, India and US agreed to focus on joint production of key items of mutual interest. The US committed to an expeditious review of the license application submitted by M/s General Electric to produce jet engines in India for the indigenously manufactured Light Combat Aircraft. A new Innovation Bridge will be established to connect defence startups on both sides.

In the field of space, there was an appreciation of the opportunities offered by the opening up of India's space sector and the contribution of India's space tech companies to the United States. Both sides agreed that ISRO will work with NASA on human space flight opportunities, NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) project and STEM talent exchanges. India and US agreed to launch a public-private dialogue covering 5G/6G and ORAN using trusted sources.

During the iCET launch, a new Implementation Arrangement between the Department of Science and Technology of India and the National Science Foundation of the US was signed by the Ambassador and NSF Director in the presence of Doval and Sullivan.