India-US Collaboration in AI: Navigating the Geopolitical Landscape : Daily News Analysis

Date : 11/11/2023

Relevance:GS Paper 3- Science and Technology - Digital Technology

Keywords: Pentagon's Strategy, Geopolitics, 2+2 Dialogue, Responsible AI


The intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and geopolitical dynamics takes center stage as the foreign and defense ministers of India and the United States convene in Delhi for the 2+2 dialogue.

Recent developments, including President Joe Biden's Executive Order on AI and the Pentagon's updated strategy, underscore the urgency for a comprehensive discussion on AI cooperation between the two nations.

Biden's Executive Order and Pentagon's Strategy:

  • President Biden's Executive Order focuses on securing AI applications for civilian uses, emphasizing safety, security, equity, and innovation.
  • Simultaneously, the Pentagon's strategy highlights the integration of AI into military doctrine and operations, aiming to maintain a "decision advantage" for the US armed forces.
  • These initiatives reflect the tension between harnessing AI's transformative potential and mitigating its misuse and societal consequences.

Geopolitical Faultline: US-China Rivalry:

  • The evolving rivalry between the United States and China emerges as a central geopolitical faultline.
  • The United States is wary of Beijing's advancements in AI for economic and military purposes.
  • While Biden's Executive Order sets standards for civilian use, the Pentagon's strategy underscores the importance of leveraging AI to enhance military capabilities. The competitive landscape in AI mirrors the broader contest for global influence between the US and China.

India's Role in the Geopolitical Chessboard:

  • India finds itself at the crossroads of this geopolitical competition, recognizing the need to bolster its AI capabilities to address growing vulnerabilities vis-a-vis China.
  • The bilateral defense innovation bridge, announced during Prime Minister Modi's visit to Washington, is yielding results, with the US Space Force signing research agreements with Indian startups, marking a crucial step in the India-US defense partnership in AI.
  • The Joint Indo-US Quantum Coordination Mechanism has been established to facilitate joint research on quantum technology , Artificial Intelligence (AI), and advanced wireless technologies.
  • Joint collaboration on trustworthy and responsible AI, including generative AI, will promote AI education, workforce initiatives, and commercial opportunities.
  • India's leadership as Chair of the Global Partnership on AI was commended, and Google's investment in Indian startups and AI research centre was appreciated.

US Defense Innovation Bridge: A Catalyst for Collaboration:

  • The bilateral defense innovation bridge, initiated during PM Modi's visit, is proving instrumental in fostering collaboration. Recent agreements between the US Space Force and Indian startups, such as 114AI working on AI for space domain awareness, signify the potential for a robust India-US defense partnership in AI.
  • This collaboration is not only strategic but also a response to the shared concern about China's rapid strides in AI development.

Addressing Constraints and Expanding Collaboration:

  • Talent Pool : The US faces a shortage of scientists, technologists, and engineers crucial for accelerating AI development. India, with its natural talent pool, can play a pivotal role in addressing this gap.
    Collaboration in talent exchange, training, and research should be a priority.
    While India must invest in expanding the quality and quantity of its AI talent, the US can provide solid support — through collaborations in education, research, and training. The framework for such cooperation already exists under the iCET, and it needs to be expanded and intensified in the AI domain.
  • Civil-Military Fusion: China's success in AI is partly attributed to its "civil-military fusion" model. The US and India should leverage their collaborative framework, such as the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies, to enhance civil-military cooperation in AI.
  • Strategic Imperatives in 2+2 Dialogue: As the foreign and defense ministers meet for the fifth round of the 2+2 dialogue, four imperatives emerge: advancing technology cooperation, elevating AI cooperation, expanding the existing collaboration under the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies, and emphasizing responsible AI development.
  • Responsible AI Development: A Shared Goal: Both the Biden Executive Order and the Pentagon's strategy underscore the importance of "responsible" AI development and use. This emphasis aligns with the broader socio-economic, democratic, and defense considerations in both the US and India. Collaborative efforts between the two nations are essential to navigate the evolving landscape of AI governance.


As India and the US navigate the complexities of the AI landscape, the collaborative efforts initiated through the defense innovation bridge and other strategic frameworks are crucial. The geopolitical implications of AI, coupled with the imperative to balance technological advancement and responsible governance, require sustained and deepened collaboration. The 2+2 dialogue serves as a platform to further enhance the India-US partnership in AI, contributing to a stable balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region.

Probable Questions for UPSC mains Exam-

  1. How does the bilateral defense innovation bridge between India and the United States, particularly the recent agreements with Indian startups, signify a strategic response to the concerns about China's advancements in artificial intelligence? (10 Marks, 150 Words)
  2. In the context of the geopolitical faultline between the US and China, how can India's role in advancing artificial intelligence capabilities contribute to building a stable balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region, as highlighted in the 2+2 dialogue and the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies? (15 Marks, 250 Words)

Source- Indian Express