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India can play a key role in critical tech areas, says head of Quad Investors Network

India can play a leading role in technological areas that are identified as critical by Quad nations, said the head of the Quad Investment Network.

The country has a lot of opportunities due to its talent base and its ability to stand up as the second largest manufacturing base outside China, said Karl Mehta, Chairman of the Quad Investment Network (QUIN).

Mehta was in Washington DC, along with Alex Trueman, the network’s special advisor, for meetings with the Biden administration officials, following the recent Quad Summit in Japan and ahead of the official visit of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United States.

QUIN is a network of investors and executives across Quad countries (India, United States, Australia, and Japan) that seeks to foster co-investment in critical technologies. It was officially launched on May 20.

Mehta said India wants to rise and be the manufacturing factory of the world, which China has been for the past 30 years.

“India has tremendous opportunities as a part of one of the four Quad nations. It is the only developing country because the other three are already developed nations. There is a huge talent base in India,” the Indian-American serial entrepreneur told PTI in a joint interview with Trueman.

“So, I think India has a lot of opportunities both from its talent base and its ability to stand up as a second big manufacturing base outside of China,” he said.

Mehta said QUIN has identified technological areas that are very critical from a supply chain perspective and to establish/maintain Quad’s leadership in these technologies. These areas are semiconductors, clean energy and critical minerals, quantum technologies, mobility, 5G/6G, cybersecurity, healthtech, biotech, defence tech, and spacetech.

“These are some of these technology areas where we are taking a very deep dive. We are assembling prominent experts from each one of these four countries and creating a centre of excellence in each one of them. In the next two weeks, we are launching a centre of excellence for quantum technologies,” said Mehta.

5g technology

“These expert groups are going to help and guide and create the direction and very specific goals in terms of where technical collaboration opportunities exist today, where we can help enable it from the Quad Industry Network, where these players need help in terms of market access and helping them solve the regulatory hurdles that might be coming in the way of developing the markets for this new tech,” he said.

In these technologies, India is a technology powerhouse, said Mehta. Although the United States, Japan, and Australia are very advanced in their technology, India is a collaborator in these technologies, he added.

India’s focus on vaccine development was super helpful; the country played a big role in the whole Quad nation partnership around vaccines, said Mehta. That’s why the vaccine partnership has now been expanded into an overall health security partnership, he added.

Before leading QUIN, Mehta had been the founder and CEO of an artificial intelligence-powered Kknowledge cloud platform called EdCast Inc, which was backed by Stanford University and acquired by Cornerstone Inc. He was also a venture partner at Menlo Ventures, a leading Silicon Valley firm.

(The copy has been edited and restructured.)

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