A new chapter in defence and tech

Source: The post is based on the article “A new chapter in defence and tech” published in The Hindu on 22nd February 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – International Relations

Relevance: India-US bilateral relations

News: India and the US have recently inaugurated the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (ICET). The launch of ICET shows that the relations between the two nations are improving.

What is ICET?

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How has the relations between India and the US transformed over the years?

The US has played a significant role in India’s development efforts since 1950. During the cold war, the US provided assistance to India in a range of areas.

The U.S. helped to build India’s first reactors for research and power. It also gave training to India’s nuclear scientists. However, the cooperation in nuclear areas came to an end after India’s first nuclear test in 1974.

The U.S. also aided to modernise Indian education, especially engineering and management in the 1960s to help India’s industrial growth. However, the Indian economy stalled in those times due to which growth wasn’t witnessed.

Agriculture was the area where India got long lasting benefits from the US technologies. American S&T helped trigger the Green Revolution and end an era of food shortages.

Moreover, the Bangladesh War of 1971 and the 1974 nuclear tests led to a decline in the relations between India and the US for almost three decades.

However, relations became better in 1984 when India-U.S. signed MoU on sensitive technologies, commodities and information.

In 1987, the U.S. agreed to assist India’s Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas) programme and allowed the sale of front-line GE 404 engines to India.

However, the non-proliferation treaty acted as hindrance between the relations of the two nations.

The US reimposed sanctions on India again in 1988 following the nuclear test conducted by India. However, by this time, China emerged as the threat to the US.

Therefore, the US decided to improve its relationship with India and the nuclear proliferation treaty was replaced by the India-U.S. nuclear deal of 2008. The relations between the two nations started to improve after this deal.

Till now, India has purchased U.S. weapons and systems worth billions of dollars. It is now deemed to be a Major Defence Partner and a Major Non-Nato Ally of the US.

However, India has also faced pressure under CAATSA and on account of its oil trade with Russia.

Hence, ICET will help both the countries to move ahead together in critical and emerging technologies. It has also set up a range of ambitious goals for India.

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