India-US relationship goes over the moon | India News

WASHINGTON: Despite not being formal allies, ties between India and the United States literally went over the moon on Thursday with the two sides announcing landmark defence deals, including General Electric teaming up with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to make jet engines and New Delhi joining the Artemis Accords, the US-led effort to return humans to the moon by 2025, and to Mars and beyond thereafter.
The two sides also stepped up cooperation in the critical semiconductor manufacturing field currently dominated by Taiwan, South Korea, and China, with a slew of US companies pledging investment in India after New Delhi committed up to $ 2.75 billion for a testing and assembly facility. Among the investors is Micron, a major US manufacturer of memory chips and flash drives whose Kanpur-born CEO Sanjay Mehrotra, is regarded as a pioneer in the area.

Mehrotra, an alumnus of BITS Pilani, met Modi on Wednesday as India renewed its spotty efforts to return to semi-conductor manufacturing after its initial foray was burned to the ground in an unexplained fire that broke out at the SemiConductor Lab (SCL) in Chandigarh in 1989. The setback sent New Delhi into a coma for nearly three decades before disruption of critical semiconductors during the Covid crisis woke India and the US to the vulnerability of depending on the East Asia supply chain.

Officials said the Prime Minister invited Micron to boost semiconductor manufacturing in India, noting that India can provide competitive advantages in various parts of the semiconductor supply chain. Micron is expected to plow in $ 825 million to start construction of the new facility in Gujarat later this year.
Two other US companies, Applied Materials and Lam Research, are also expected to roll out India operations and programs. Applied Materials CEO Gary E Dickerson was among those who met Modi on Wednesday.
The two sides will also open new consulates in both countries on a reciprocal basis to enhance people-to-people ties and travel — the US in Bangalore and Ahmedabad and India in Seattle and one other city. An easing of restrictions on H1B guest workers and other work visa holders, allowing them to renew their temporary residency in the US instead of having to go out of the country, is also being rolled out.
The big ticket item though is the agreement between GE — which has a long and storied involvement in India going back to when it helped set up the first hydel power plant in Shivsamundram near Bangalore 1902 — and HAL for the co-production in India of GE 414 jet engines for the Tejas Mk 2 light combat aircraft. Although GE’s involvement in the LCA goes back to the 1980s when it pledged help with engines for the project, it was constrained by US reluctance on technology transfer, much of which officials indicated have been overcome given the urgent need to add to India’s military heft.
The two countries are also announcing a framework for human spaceflight this year and a mission to the International Space Station in 2024, following India’s decision to join the U.S.-led Artemis Accords. Although India has a proudly independent space program developed in the face of US sanctions, it benefited from initial American help till the 1980s, and the two sides appear to have decided to resume cooperation given India’s growing reputation for frugal engineering.

Source link