India, US agree to step up cooperation on semiconductors, critical minerals

World Tuesday 18/June/2024 06:34 AM
India, US agree to step up cooperation on semiconductors, critical minerals

New Delhi: India and the US have agreed to closer engagement and cooperation on supply chain, semiconductors and critical minerals during the meeting of the India-US initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET), led by Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and his US counterpart Jake Sullivan in New Delhi.

India and the US Monday launched a new strategic semiconductors partnership to co-develop semiconductor design and manufacturing processes for precision-guided ammunition.

"Launching a new strategic semiconductor partnership between General Atomics and 3rdiTech to co-develop semiconductor design and manufacturing for precision-guided ammunition and other national security-focused electronics platforms," read the fact sheet issued by the US and India.

Semiconductors (essential for defence, automobiles and telecommunications sectors) have grown into a key geopolitical battleground, with the US, Japan and China investing heavily in developing domestic capabilities.

"Celebrating the conclusion of a joint Semiconductor Readiness Assessment through a partnership between the US Semiconductor Industry Association and the India Electronics Semiconductor Association, which identifies near-term industry opportunities and facilitates longer-term strategic development of complementary semiconductor ecosystems," the factsheet added.

This engagement with Indian and US investors in the semiconductor industry in India aims to continue building India's robust semiconductor and information communication technology ecosystem.

Notably, India in March approved three semiconductor plant proposals, aiming to bolster India's semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem. The projects entail an estimated investment of Rs 1.26 lakh crore and are expected to significantly contribute to India's electronics manufacturing sector.

Tata Electronics and Taiwan's Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (PSMC) will establish India's first semiconductor fabrication plant (fab) in Dholera, Gujarat. Tata Semiconductor Assembly and Test Pvt Ltd (TSAT) will set up a semiconductor unit in Morigaon, Assam. CG Power, in partnership with Renesas Electronics Corp., Japan, and Stars Microelectronics, Thailand, will establish a semiconductor unit in Sanand, Gujarat.

US and India also aimed to work together to ensure a reliable supply of critical minerals, which are essential for clean energy technologies and other important industries.

"Promoting India's vital role in the Mineral Security Partnership, including through co-investing in a lithium resource project in South America and a rare earths deposit in Africa, to responsibly and sustainably diversify critical mineral supply chains," read the fact sheet.

The two countries agreed to establish an India-US Advanced Materials R&D Forum on the margins of the India-U.S. Joint Committee Meeting on Science and Technology to expand collaboration between American and Indian universities, national laboratories, and private sector researchers.

"Deepening industrial and commercial coordination for critical mineral supply chains under the India-US Commercial Dialogue between the US Department of Commerce and the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry, with private sector input from the India-US CEO Forum," the fact sheet stated.

They also committed to quickly conclude a bilateral Critical Minerals Memorandum of Understanding between the US Department of Commerce and the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Mines, and driving additional areas of cooperation in critical mineral supply chains such as for graphite, gallium, and germanium.

"Exploring opportunities for collaboration in the critical minerals sector like bilateral collaboration in technologies for Neodymium-iron-boron metal, alloy and magnet making, collaboration with Department of Energy entities; Advancing Indian collaboration with U.S. organisations and companies for carrying out research studies for beneficiation of critical minerals, including lithium, titanium, gallium, and vanadium," added the fact sheet.

The two countries agreed to build a collaborative programme between the Geological Survey of India and the US Geological Survey on exploration, characterisation and evaluation of rare earth elements and critical mineral deposits.