two-day meeting of Indian and US officials begins here Thursday with the mandate to promote high-technology trade between the two countries.
Called the Indo-US High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG), its meeting is expected to lead to US companies gaining greater access to Indian markets while enabling Indian companies and government agencies to reach out to more American high-tech products.
Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and the US team led by Under Secretary of Commerce Kenneth I. Juster are expected to lead the two sides to the talks.
The group was set up two years ago to promote high-technology trade between the two countries. US export control laws to limit the types of technology that can be shipped to sensitive regions like India would come up before the HTCG for discussion in view of US concerns to prevent the proliferation of sensitive dual-use technologies.
Talks on shipping US sensor and radar equipment for use by India's defence forces, IT in defence cooperation and sensitive data protection would also be discussed, Indian Embassy officials said.
According to US Commerce Department officials, there is immense potential for trade in the high-technology sector between the two countries in areas ranging from IT to telecommunications and biotechnology.
The meeting will seek ways and means of advancing such trade "between our two countries consistent with our national security and foreign policy interests", sources said.
Besides, the HTCG is expected to address tariff and non-tariff barriers that inhibit high-tech commerce, the need to engage in outreach and trade promotion of US and Indian industry, market opportunities and the central
role of the private sector in generating increased bilateral high-tech trade.
The India-US interaction could include the Washington-backed Container Security Initiative that India recognises as a programme with inherent benefits as a counter-terrorism measure, sources said.
Representatives from US industries, Indian companies and top officials of the industry lobby, the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI), are expected to attend the two day meeting.