On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a one-on-one meeting with a group of five top American corporate leaders to discuss investment opportunities in India’s telecom and electronics sectors, discussion was on a range of diverse sectors ranging from drones to 5G, semiconductor, and solar.
Modi interacted with the heads of General Atomics, Qualcomm, semi-conductor major, BlackRock global investment company, First Solar, non-conventional energy leader, and Adobe, US leader in software. Two of the CEOs are Indian-Americans, Shantanu Narayen from Adobe and Vivek Lal from General Atomics, and the three others are Cristiano E Amon from Qualcomm, Mark Widmar from First Solar, and Stephen A Schwarzman from Blackstone.
India has plans to acquire 30 Predator drones. These drones can be armed with deadly Hell-Fire air to surface missiles (ASMs) or laser guided bombs. The drones have the capacity to operate at a ceiling of 50,000 feet and can fly nonstop of nearly 27 hours. The aircrafts are equipped with a multi-mode radar for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting.
As India’s indigenous capability is limited with both Beijing and Islamabad operating Chinese made armed drones, it is important for India to acquire armed drones of its own. India’s neighbour Pakistan is also eyeing to acquire armed drones for Turkey and wants to bring back the orthodox legacy of the bygone Ottoman Empire which India needs to combat. The Turkish drone was also used in the Azerbaijan-Armenian conflict with Pakistani mercenaries operating against Armenia.
Now that Biden administration has given a green signal to India for acquire Predator drones, it will only be a matter of time before the Indian Navy brings up the proposal before the Defence Acquisition Committee (DAC) to kick start the process.
In order to attract semiconductor companies to the country, The Indian government has been working on the same as he discussed with chip giant Qualcomm’s chief executive officer (CEO) Cristiano Amon in the United States (US) today. The government had received expressions of interests (EoIs) from several semiconductor firms and will come out with a scheme for semiconductors in the next six months as per Ajay Sawhney, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
Qualcomm first started its operations in 1996. Since its establishment, the company’s operations have specialized in wireless modem and multimedia software, Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and embedded applications, and digital media networking solutions. Qualcomm Ventures has already invested in Indian companies that address key domestic issues from dairy to defence transportation.
The chairman of the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) Rajeev Khushu also said that the government has received over 20 EoIs from semiconductor firms who want to set up shops in India.
N Chandrashekharan, chairman of the Tata Group, had confirmed last month that the company is looking to enter the semiconductor space. While speaking at the annual general meeting of the IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he said “At the Tata group, we have already pivoted into a number of new businesses like electronics manufacturing, 5G network equipment as well as semiconductors, in all probability,”
The Vedanta Group also seemed to be interested in forming strategic partnerships that will allow the company to enter the semiconductor industry. As per Khushu, India should focus on speciality fabs, that play an important role in power, health, and other important sectors. After the USA’s semiconductor (chip) ban on China, its India’s chance to take over.
Investment opportunities are being offered in India’s telecommunications and electronics sector. Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) along with developments in the semiconductor supply chain in India was also included in the discussion, the MEA said in a release.
As the joint venture between U.S. smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm Inc and China’s Guizhou province had shut down back in 2019, this will be a big opportunity for India to take advantage of the situation to tackle the Chinese hegemony on the manufacturing unit. PM Modi’s meet with the CEOs is a remarkable move to tackle with its competing neighbours, drone technology and semi chip conductors being the centre of the issue and measures to strengthen the innovation ecosystem were also discussed.