South Asia and Beyond

India-U.S. Ambitious Agenda In Co-Development Of Future Tech, Jet Engines, UAVs

NEW DELHI: On ‘The Gist‘, Akriti Vasudeva Kalyankar, Fellow with the South Asia Programme at the Stimson Centre in Washington, D.C, Editor-at-large of ‘South Asian Voices’ and Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Professional and Area Studies at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute in conversation with StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi. In this in-person interview in New Delhi, Akriti Vasudeva Kalyankar assesses Army chief General Manoj Pande’s Pune keynote speech at the end of March as a sign that the “military is getting more and more candid and clear-eyed on the Chinese threat,” some of which she notes “has already happened politically when you look at, for example, (External Affairs Minister) Dr Jaishankar’s statements.” She sees the India-U.S. Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) launched in February “as a grander, more ambitious defence, trade and technology initiative driven by the two National Security Advisers (Jake Sullivan and Ajit Doval). So it has political backing at the highest levels to once and for all really figure out the issues between the U.S. and India on technology and defence co-production.” “The “struggle, perhaps the Quad is having right now,” the Indo-Pacific analyst says “is how to message to a different audience. On the one hand, what the Quad is trying to do, and I think importantly so, is actually trying to provide alternatives to China in the region, whether that’s through infrastructure, connectivity, capacity building, and maritime domain awareness. While providing those public goods, the idea of the Quad is also to be a deterrent to Chinese aggression or coercion. So, it does also need to message that there are aspects or components of the Quad that can be sort of dialled up or can be building blocks if there is a future contingency.” On the debate on whether the U.S. can continue to take on Russia in the Ukraine war while building coalitions to constrain Chinese coercion, she points out “other Quad members (Australia, India and Japan) can act as a balancer and actually bring the U.S. on side if there is a concern about distraction(because of the Russia-Ukraine war).”

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