What PM Modi’s US visit means in terms of big deals, how India stands to gain
During Prime Minister Modi’s historic visit, India and US came to an agreement on a long list of deliverables spanning defence, critical and emerging technology, and space cooperation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has concluded his historic state visit to the United States. The Joe Biden’s administration rolled out its full pageantry for the Indian leader during the three-day visit. At a joint press conference with PM Modi, President Biden called this a new era in the US-India relationship. He exuded that the partnership is “stronger, closer and more dynamic than at any time in history” and that the economic relationship is “booming.”
The fact that trade between the two countries has more than doubled over the past decade underscores President Biden’s point. Despite all the pomp and pageantry of a state dinner and PM Modi’s address to the US Congress, it can be said that this visit wasn’t just about optics.
The two sides came to an agreement on a long list of deliverables spanning defence, critical and emerging technology, and space cooperation. The deals on defence and semiconductors in particular are aimed at countering China’s growing hegemony.
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Let us take a look at all the deals and its impact on India’s status as an emerging power.
PM Modi’s US visit defence deals
General Electric (GE) has signed an agreement with India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to jointly manufacture engines, which will power fighter jets of the Indian Air Force. This historic deal is the most significant deliverable of PM Modi’s visit as the US is willing to give India access to cutting-edge jet engine technology, which it rarely shares. The GE engine in question is the F414, the workhorse for US Navy’s fighter jets.
The F414 engine will power India’s next-generation Tejas 2. India will also procure the deadly armed version of MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones. These drones will significantly enhance India’s surveillance capabilities along the border with China in the Himalayan heights and in the Indian Ocean.
Boost to India’s domestic chip sector
India is looking to become a semiconductor powerhouse as US is encouraging American chipmakers to decrease their dependence on China. So, there were deals in this sphere as well.
US rchipmaker Micron Technology will invest more than $800 million towards a new $2.75 billion semiconductor assembly and testing plant, to be built in Gujarat.
Applied Materials has announced that it will build a Semiconductor Centre for commercialisation and innovation in India in order to diversify its semiconductor supply chain.
PM Modi’s US visit: Big move on US visas
The Biden administration has announced that it will make it easier for skilled Indian workers to get and renew US visas. A pilot program to renew visas domestically for certain petition-based temporary workers will be introduced. This essentially means that applicants will not have to travel outside to get their renewal stamp. This program could be expanded to include H1B and L skilled visas by 2024.
India-US Space cooperation and Artemis Accords
India has joined the US-led Artemis Accords on space exploration. Also, India’s space agency ISRO will work with NASA towards a joint mission to the International Space Station in 2024.
Geopolitical messaging of PM Modi’s US visit
The US is trying to position India as a bulwark to China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific. The Pentagon is also aiming to wean India off Russian arms. The deals that were signed during PM Modi’s US visit will enhance India’s role as a major player in the region and boost India's standing in the world.