VIF- CNAS Joint Webinar on India-US Science and Technology Collaboration
Opening Remarks by Dr Arvind Gupta, Director VIF
Mr Richard Fontaine, CEO CNAS
Ms Lisa Curtis, Director CNAS
Ambassador Arun Singh,
Distinguished participants from the US and India

Thank you for joining us today for this important Indo-US dialogue on India-US Science cooperation.

The VIF is delighted to partner with Centre for New Amercan Security (CNAS) in organising this meeting. This is a unique initiative in which think tanks and the national governments are involved.

I would like to thank Mr Richard Fontaine and Ms Lisa Curtis as well as Amb Arun K Singh, Member, National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) and former Indian ambassador to theUS and Lt Gen Sawhney for putting this event together.

India and the US have a long history of science and technology cooperation stretching back to the fifties. In 1986 a comprehensive science and technology MOU was signed. An Indo-US Science Forum was set up. In the last twenty years, many sector-specific agreements have been concluded. The High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG) and Defence Trade and Technology DTTI are notable initiatives.

The Indo-US nuclear deal was truly a game-changer in bilateral relations.

Indo US science and tech cooperation coversseveral domains including nuclear, space, agriculture, cybersecurity, health, science education, nanotechnology, climate change, renewable energy and many others. The latest is the cooperation on covid vaccines.

In this group, we will be having a series of conversations to flesh out areas and modes of cooperation.

Mankind is at an inflexion point. Emerging technologies are beginning to shape politics, economics, social and workplace interactions, social behaviour and even ethics and morality like never before.

India and the US, as the leading science and technology countries, need to be alive to the emerging opportunities forIndo-US cooperation.
For example, as India reforms and liberalizes its commercial space sector, it has opened up the space sector for private sector participation. The government has issued a series of seven separate policy discussion documents over the last year about Remote Sensing, Satellite Communication, Transfer of Technology, Humans in Space, Geospatial Data, Satellite-based IoT, and Space Transportation.

India has an ambitious nuclear energy programme. We should also look at how we can advance cooperation on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, Quantum Computing, biotechnology, sensors etc present unprecedented opportunities to take Indo-US collaboration forward.

5G/6G

In today’s discussion, we are trying to understand how Indian and US institutionsand entities can join hands to develop and deploy 5G and 6G technologies to mutual benefit.

In May this year, the Indian government permitted 5G trials to Indian TSPs Airtel, Vodafone-Idea, MTNL and Reliance Jio. In the next six months, they will demonstrate the technological feasibility of their systems. These companies have tied up with Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and C-DOT as partners in the 5 G development. Reliance Jio will be demonstrating indigenous technologies and systems.

5G holds immense potential for India, which under its Digital India programme, has taken impressive strides in the last six years. Dense connectivity, faster downloads, low latency, and the development of specific applications will be an essential requirement.

To meet its developmental goals and tackle the challenge of economic growth and good governance, India needs to deploy next-generation ultra-high broadband infrastructure with 100% coverage of 10 Gbps across urban India and 1 Gbps across Rural India.

In 2017 the governmenthad set up a high-level 5G technological forum consisting of senior officials from key ministries as well representatives of academia, industry and businesses to prepare a roadmap for 5G. Its terms and conditions included deploying 5G to increase telecom speeds, bridge the rural divide, create a technological, regulatory and business ecosystem for 5G and their deployment.

A robust ecosystem for 5G would require the design and manufacture of equipment, 5G start-ups, generation of IPRs and standards, manufacturing 5G chipsets, test beds and technology platforms. One of the Indian companies has already developed 4G chipsets and made progress in 5G chipsets.
India has proposed 5G India specific standards also. The 5G technology has been developed by IIT Madras, Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT) and IIT Hyderabad.
India has a high potential in terms of markets, talents, research and design in making 5G happen.

The reality is that a lot of work in 5G standards, IPRs etc has already been done. It is now a question of the deployment of new technologies. To be ahead in the race for new technologies, we should now be looking beyond 5G to 6G

It is estimated by industry leaders that 6G standards will be developed by 2028. By 2030, 6G will be deployed.

Indian telecom standards body TSDSI has submitted a vision for 6G to ITU.

There is significant scope for India-US collaboration in 6G and associated technologies also.

India and can take forward collaboration in telecommunication by agreeing on a roadmap for telecom cooperation.

We can also produce for exports to world markets.

We do hope that today’s meeting will generate specific ideas.

This group can contribute to the government by generating doable, specific ideas.

Thank you once again.

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