Dr. Vivek Lall, global chief executive for international strategic development for electromagnetic systems of the U.S.-based global defence and nuclear giant General Atomics, feels that “Make in India” initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a “laudable effort” that can attract players from the U.S. who are keen to co-manufacture and co-develop products for the Indian and other markets across the world by making India the base.
“Both governments can play the role of facilitators as ultimately the businesses in both countries will lead the technology revolution,” said Dr. Lall, an aerospace and defence expert, during his recent visit to New Delhi. He has held key positions with Boeing, Reliance, Raytheon and has now joined the U.S.-based General Atomics.
On strategic technology engagement between the U.S. and India, he said there was a renewed vigour in the corporate world to look at how India and U.S. can engage from technology and innovation perspective.
Dr. Lall said that several U.S. companies have niche technology for several applications in various industries including defence. “The key is then how do you build partnership where technology could be truly absorbed for the Indian industry, the corporate sector and in the defence sector,” he said.
Talking about the cutting-edge technology in nuclear and defence fields and the need for big time research in tapping solar power for meeting energy needs, Dr. Lall said that most of these technologies and manufacturing plans in the defence and nuclear industry can take many years to unfold as there is a long gestation period. However, he stressed on the need to identify projects that can be executed jointly by governments and companies both in India and US.
“When Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Washington there was lot of talk on Defence Technology Initiative (DTI) as there are lot of defence projects that could be part of it. If we sow the seeds now then a competitive industry will be created then whether or not you have an offset policy, companies will come and set up base in India. U.S. companies are very optimistic about coming to India and make India their hub for exports to other parts of the world,” he said.
Pointing out that solar and nuclear were very both clean fuels, he said the need was to capture solar more efficiently and bring down the cost. If new technologies can bring down the cost effectively, it would lead to a larger public acceptance, he said adding that a quantum leap could take place in solar technology in the coming years.