'Tech the 'master key' for Indo-US ties,' says Ambassador Sandhu ahead of PM Modi US visit | Mint
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Business News/ News / World/  'Tech the 'master key' for Indo-US ties,' says Ambassador Sandhu ahead of PM Modi US visit

'Tech the 'master key' for Indo-US ties,' says Ambassador Sandhu ahead of PM Modi US visit

Sandhu highlighted that India currently boasts a massive mobile subscriber base exceeding 1.2 billion and a staggering 825 million Internet users.

India's Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu. (Photo: ANI)Premium
India's Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu. (Photo: ANI)

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US, India's Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said that technology serves as a force multiplier for enhancing the Indo-US partnership.

Sandhu was addressing the annual India Ideas Summit of the US-India Business Council where he emphasized that technology acts as the crucial "master key" that unlocks the true potential of the relationship between India and the US, PTI reported.

Sandhu's comments coincide with Modi's invitation by President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden for an official State Visit. This visit will encompass various engagements, culminating in a State Dinner scheduled for June 22.

"If you ask me, what I would bet on the most, what is that one force multiplier for this relationship, and for global well-being indeed, it is tech. It is that master key to unlock the real potential in the relationship," Sandhu said on Monday. "There is a lot of synergy and complementarity between us in the tech space. Tech, to me, is powered by trust. It is as much strategic as (it is) commercial," he added.

"It was just four-and-a-half months ago that we had launched the iCET Industry Roundtable at this very location in the presence of both the NSAs (National Security Advisor) and (Commerce) Secretary (Gina) Raimondo. "And we have (US) NSA (Jake) Sullivan in Delhi today, including for the follow-up to the first round of iCET discussions," he said.

Biden and Modi announced the US-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) in May 2022 to elevate and expand strategic technology partnership and defence industrial cooperation between the governments, businesses, and academic institutions of the two countries.

The two sides are finalising the joint statement, which is being described as a robust outcome document and as something that would shape the nature and contour of the Indo-US relationship for decades, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.

Sandhu further said, "Under each iCET vertical, our teams have been in regular touch. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was in Delhi last week when India's Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra was in (Washington) DC. “We launched the inaugural India-US Strategic Trade Dialogue, another game-changer dialogue, to discuss export controls. Delhi-DC depth has never been better."

Referring to Modi's visit, the Indian envoy said there is great excitement on both sides. "My prime minister is only the third Indian leader in our independent history to be accorded the honour of a State Visit by the US President. He also becomes the only Indian leader to address the US Congress twice," he said.

According to the White House Historical Association, this will be the 11th State Dinner that a US President is hosting for an Indian leader. However, in the last 75 years, only two other Indian leaders have been given the honour of an official State Visit.

The previous two State Visits included the one for President S Radhakrishnan in June 1963 and then for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in November 2009.

When Modi addresses a joint meeting of the US Congress on June 23, it will make him only the third world leader, outside of Israel, to make such an address twice.

The other two are Winston Churchill in 1941, 1943 and 1952 and Nelson Mandela in 1990 and 1994. Modi earlier addressed the US Congress in 2016. Sandu said, "While I will not spill the beans, I can tell you with confidence that the ceremonial and substantive parts of the visit will fully complement each other and will be unparalleled. This is not just because the governments have been working hard, this is because all of you have been working hard."

Sandhu expressed that the rapid and significant transformation of the relationship between the two nations has been remarkable. He highlighted that India currently boasts a massive mobile subscriber base exceeding 1.2 billion and a staggering 825 million Internet users.

This means, in the last seven years, India has added one mobile subscriber and three Internet users every second. The cost of data has been cut by 98 per cent -- one of the lowest globally. It is about inclusion, innovation and empowerment, the Indian envoy said.

"While we are keen to attract US companies to invest in India and step-up R&D (research and development), given our own strengths and talents, we are delighted that Indian companies are investing and creating new jobs in the US. "Our companies are actively involved in skilling initiatives here and are contributing to local neighbourhoods, just as US companies are doing in India," Sandhu added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 13 Jun 2023, 06:22 AM IST
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