India signed a ‘memorandum of cooperation’ with Japan on Thursday to develop a semiconductor ecosystem, while union IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said this collaboration will focus on manufacturing, research, design, equipment research, talent and supply chain developments.
The tie-up is a major step forward in India’s efforts to become a global hub for the semiconductor industry and will provide access to Japanese expertise and technology, which will help the country develop its own semiconductor industry. At a press conference, Vaishnaw said: “We have had multiple rounds of discussions with the Japanese industry, the government and academia. Today with Nishimura Yasutoshi, minister of economy, trade and industry, we have signed the MoC. We will take it forward to our industry-to-industry and government-to-government collaborations.”
Vaishnaw said both countries will soon create an implementation organisation to decide on government-to-government and industry-to-industry collaborations. In response to News18 on the manufacturing of silicon wafers in India via this collaboration, he said it will be part of the discussions as a result of this agreement. India, at present, does not produce silicon wafers but imports them from China, Taiwan and Japan.
Additionally, the agreement includes a specific focus on talent development and both countries will be working to train and upskill semiconductor professionals. On how this collaboration will help increase the talent pool, Vaishaw told News18: “There will be collaboration on training our people in Japan and also Japanese people in India.”
He also spoke about Japan’s Rapidus, which is an organisation including all the major companies related to the semiconductor industry — equipment manufacturers, chemical and gas companies, as well as design companies. According to the minister, Rapidus will be a major element of discussion in this India-Japan collaboration.
“Japanese semiconductor manufacturer Renesas is already working in India and an agreement has been signed; we are currently talking to Rapidus. It will focus on design, development and manufacturing of semiconductors,” the minister said.
Vaishnaw further said Japan saw India as a partner where complementary strength can be used similar to how the US has been looking at the country. On how this collaboration will work, he said discussions between India and Japan have taken place based on several parts of the value chain, including raw material.
He said since the demand for raw material (chemicals and gases) is rising, the discussion was about whether India can be a raw material production destination. The country already has Dahej in Gujarat, which is known for having one of the top chemical ecosystems in the world.
Vaishnaw also said while such an ecosystem increases the confidence in the global industry, the presence of a pharmaceutical base in India also helps to get advanced chemical handling processes. “In this collaboration, we are very open-minded, and we would like to focus on all the parts of the value chain where there is a complementary strength between India and Japan. Whether the production will take place in SCL, Mohali or new plants, that is not part of the discussion but how we identify the complementary strengths and work on those,” he added.
The agreement demonstrates the world’s trust in India’s capabilities and commitment to developing a complete semiconductor ecosystem. The collaboration will have a number of benefits, including reduced dependence on imports, increased economic growth, strengthened global supply chain, increased technological cooperation and talent development.
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