The US and India have recently reinforced their strategic partnership, with a focus on 6G research, Open RAN, and semiconductors. In a joint statement, US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasized the importance of technology in the US-India Comprehensive Global and Strategic Partnership.
Under the agreement, the countries have pledged to enhance technology sharing, co-development, and co-production opportunities between their industry, government, and academic institutions. Two public-private task forces have been formed, one focused on Open RAN and the other dedicated to R&D on 5G and 6G technologies. The Open RAN task force will engage in field trials and rollouts, including large-scale deployments in both nations. Operator and vendor participation from both markets is expected. The 5G/6G task force will collaborate on common standards, chipset accessibility for system development, and joint R&D projects. The involvement of vendors and operators will be led by India’s Bharat 6G Alliance and the US Next G Alliance.
In an effort to secure a stable semiconductor supply, Biden and Modi also included the Semiconductor Supply Chain and Innovation Partnership in their strategic partnership. This memorandum of understanding aims to synchronize their semiconductor incentive programs and foster research, talent, and skill development. Furthermore, multiple US chip companies such as Micron Technology, Applied Materials, and Lam Research have announced multi-million dollar investments in India.
Apart from technology, the enhanced partnership also covers the areas of artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and stronger ties between the US and India’s private sector space industries. The agreement reflects a political dimension as well, with India following the US in excluding Huawei and ZTE from 5G networks and opting for homegrown solutions alongside Ericsson and Nokia.
The joint statement praised the participation of Indian companies in the FCC’s Rip and Replace Program, which aims to facilitate the removal of Chinese equipment from networks. It also highlighted the need for a bilateral framework that encompasses so-called “Trusted Network/Trusted Sources,” essentially meaning sources other than China. Both leaders expressed their commitment to continually push the boundaries of their bilateral relationship to new heights.