Ajit Doval, addressing Indian and American industries under aegis of CII, said one of the strong pillars of iCET was joint collaboration between the US and India on defence trade and technology

New Delhi: National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval Tuesday said he was now "confident and hopeful" about the US-India Initiative of Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) but when the talks began he was "sceptical" and "was not sure" about its success.

NSA Doval said "there’s something unique about iCET" that he has realised after concluding the first round of talks with his American counterpart Jake Sullivan.

“iCET is not a government-to-government arrangement…It is about collaboration and about exploiting the opportunity of what lies ahead (in US-India ties),” Doval said addressing the Indian and American industries under the aegis of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), jointly with Sullivan.

US ambassador to India Eric Garcetti, who was also present at the event, hailed Ajit Doval, calling him an "international treasure".

NSA Sullivan is one two-day visit to India to held the second round of iCET talks based on the first round that was held in Washington DC.

Doval highlighted that one of the strong pillars of iCET was joint collaboration between the US and India on defence trade and technology.

He said the recent launch of the Strategic Trade Dialogue was a one of the first outcomes of ICET. Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra was in the US last week to attend the dialogue.

According to Sullivan, the iCET agenda is expanding and there’s “genuine commitment” between both sides to keep the initiative going.

He said the main focus area under iCET is removing of export and trade barriers that exist on both sides and also deepen defence partnership between both countries.

The iCET talks took place ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden on 22 June in Washington.

Sullivan said the deliverables coming out of Modi’s US visit are “fundamentally designed to remove obstacles.”

The iCET was announced in May 2022 on the sidelines of the Quad Summit in Tokyo, Japan.

Apart from defence, this initiative also includes quantum, artificial intelligence, space, semiconductors, telecommunications and biotech.

Earlier today, the two National Security Advisers met for restricted discussions on regional and global issues of mutual interest.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, "The current visit (by Sullivan)which comes in the run-up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's state visit to the US, will give them the opportunity to continue their high-level dialogue, which will include a review of the robust and multi-faceted cooperation between the two countries as well as a survey of the India-US global strategic partnership."

During the visit, NSA Sullivan met Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "Reviewed progress under India-US Initiative on Critical & Emerging Technologies (iCET) and other issues of bilateral cooperation. Look forward to meeting US President Joe Biden during my upcoming state Visit to the US," tweeted PM Modi.