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India-US 6th High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG) Meeting New Delhi - February 28-29, 2008

Washington, DC
February 29, 2008

The sixth meeting of the India-US High Technology Cooperation Group was held in New Delhi on February 28-29, 2008. The US delegation was led by Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security, Mr. Mario Mancuso, and the Indian delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Mr. Shivshankar Menon with participation of concerned Departments of the Government of India and the United States Government as well as the United States India Business Council, Confederation of Indian Industry, and the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The High Technology Cooperation Group constituted in 2003, had identified four broad areas of priority focus for promoting and facilitating bilateral commerce in advanced technology items between India and the USA - (i) Defence & Strategic Trade, (ii) Biotechnology, (iii) Information Technology, and (iv) Nanotechnology.

The architecture of the HTCG involves private sector participation as an integral part of its working format. The industry engagement on the first day, with wide participation of a cross-section of Indian and US industry, identified the areas of common interest requiring specific action by both sides for enhancing high technology transfers to India. These were considered by the two Government delegations - who agreed on a comprehensive plan to respond to the industry's recommendations which are geared to enhancing high-tech transfers to India.

Highlights of the action plan include a timetable for reviewing export controls in respect of India - building on innovative efforts already underway for simplifying export controls. India recognised and welcomed the US Administration's announcement of their Dual Use Export Control Reform Initiative. On the Validated End User Programme which was notified by the US Government on October 2, 2007 as a US initiative to simplify export licensing requirements for Indian companies, both sides agreed that further discussions were required as US export control polices should keep pace with the transformed relationship between India and the USA .

On nanotechnology, the two sides agreed to focus on commercial application of cost-effective solutions for the benefit of society in the areas of health, energy, potable water and sustainable development.

On biotechnology, both Governments agreed to support advanced technology transfers that would stimulate capacity building in life sciences. They also agreed to engage in harmonization of regulatory systems in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology with ultimate objective of improving market access.

On Information Technology, the two sides agreed to focus on enhanced collaboration in trade on advanced electronics and software, high performance computers, encryption and next generation technologies.

In the area of defence, the Group agreed on an ambitious plan to give an impetus to high technology transfers and trade that would address all issues related to licensing and the implementation of India's defence offsets policy, encouraging collaborations at all levels including small and medium enterprises.

The two sides looked forward to a series of time-bound actions in the above areas to raise high technology commerce to the next level of bilateral cooperation - in keeping with the transformed nature of the strategic partnership between India and the USA.