India can play key role in technological areas identified as critical by Quad nations

Washington: India has a lot of opportunities due to its talent base and its ability to stand up as a second big manufacturing base outside of China and can play a leading role in technological areas being identified as critical by Quad nations, the head of the Quad Investment Network has said.

Karl Mehta, chairman of the Quad Investment Network (Quin), along with Alex Trueman, the network’s special advisor, is here in Washington DC for meetings with the Biden administration officials following the recent Quad Summit in Japan and ahead of the official state visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US.

The Quin is a network of investors and executives across Quad countries that seeks to foster co-investment in critical technologies. The QUIN was officially launched on May 20.

Mehta said the Indian government has this very big ‘Made In India’ campaign. India wants to rise and be the manufacturing factory of the world, which China has been for the past 30 years, Mehta said.

“India has tremendous opportunities as a part of one of the four Quad nations (Japan, India, Australia and the United States). It is the only developing country because the other three are already developed nations. There is a huge talent base in India,” Indian-American serial entrepreneur Mehta 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 Quad Investment Network has identified nine technological areas which are very critical both from a supply chain perspective as well as from establishing or maintaining the Quad leadership in those technologies.

These areas include semiconductors, clean energy and critical mineral, quantum technologies, mobility like 5G or 6G, cybersecurity, health tech, biotech, defence tech, and space tech.

“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, where we have experts from all four countries,” Mehta said.

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

India’s focus on vaccine development was super helpful and in the whole Quad nation partnership around vaccines, India played a big role in it. That’s why that vaccine partnership has now been expanded into an overall health security partnership.

“So, I think there’s a tremendous opportunity for India to play a role in every one of those nine technology areas that we mentioned,” he said.

Before leading the Quad Investors Network, Mehta was the founder and CEO of an artificial intelligence-powered Knowledge Cloud platform – EdCast Inc. – which was backed by Stanford University and acquired by Cornerstone Inc. He was also a former venture partner at Menlo Ventures, a leading Silicon Valley firm.