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India, US Vow to Boost Defense, Trade  06/18 06:12


   NEW DELHI (AP) -- India and the United States on Monday pledged to boost 
defense and technology cooperation and remove long-standing barriers to 
bilateral strategic trade, following a meeting between the national security 
advisers of both countries.

   National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is on a two-day visit to the Indian 
capital, New Delhi, the first from a high-ranking U.S. official since Prime 
Minister Narendra Modi secured a third straight term in India's general 
election earlier this month. Sullivan met with his counterpart, Ajit Doval, to 
discuss progress on the Initiative on Critical Emerging Technologies, which the 
two countries launched in 2022.

   The initiative sets a path for collaboration on semiconductor production and 
developing artificial intelligence and was critical in sealing a deal that will 
allow U.S.-based General Electric to partner with India's Hindustan Aeronautics 
to produce jet engines in India.

   On Monday, the two officials emphasized the need for more collaboration, 
with a focus on funding innovative research in areas like semiconductor 
manufacturing, clean energy and machine learning. They also discussed the 
possible co-production of land warfare systems, according to a joint statement.

   Sullivan also held talks with Modi, in which the two reaffirmed their 
commitment to bolstering ties between New Delhi and Washington, and he met with 
Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. On Tuesday, Sullivan is expected to 
meet with industry and business leaders.

   India and the U.S. have grown closer recently, as both countries eye China's 
growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region with caution. Modi was honored 
with a pomp-filled state visit last year, where he and U.S. President Joe Biden 
called the India-U.S. relationship among the most consequential in the world.

   But ties have also been tested after U.S. prosecutors last year accused an 
Indian government official of orchestrating a plot to murder a Sikh separatist 
leader in New York.

   Sullivan's visit to New Delhi comes as an Indian national was extradited to 
the U.S. from the Czech Republic to face charges of murder for hire and 
conspiracy to commit murder for hire, in relation to the assassination plot, 
which was foiled by U.S. officials.

   The charges were the second recent accusation of complicity by Indian 
government officials in attempts to kill Sikh separatist figures living in 
North America.

   In September, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there were 
credible allegations that the Indian government had links to the assassination 
in that country of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. While India rejected 
Trudeau's accusations, it has set up an investigation committee to look into 
the U.S. allegations.

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