How India's Tech Talent Turn a Boon to the India-US AI Initiative?
Moving Indian talent to the United States is a win-win situation for both countries, and it can help both countries accomplish their AI Goals
FREMONT, CA: Working with U.S. allies and friends is a priority for the Biden administration's newly established National Artificial Intelligence Initiative office, reflecting a more considerable recognition that partners are critical to the United States' artificial intelligence objectives (AI). India is a vital trading priority for the US, with democratic ideals, a commitment to responsible development and use of emerging technology, and a country with significant AI potential.
India's IT talent diaspora is amongst the most important and underappreciated resources for a mutually robust AI collaboration between the two countries. Indian talent moving to the United States is a win-win for both countries and can play a crucial role in advancing both India’s and the United States’ AI ambitions.
India is famous for its massive pool of tech talent. A recent report by CSET revealed that India’s AI capabilities emphasized that the country produces almost seven times as many bachelor’s level engineering graduates as the United States, and almost twice as many master’s level engineering graduates. But lack of infrastructural facilities, poor opportunities for job growth, and the bad shape of its higher education sector is holding the country back from nurturing its talent pool further.
As a result, Indian students frequently choose to pursue their postgraduate degrees in other countries, particularly the United States, which remains their most preferred destination. In reality, India accounts for 14 percent of all overseas students in the United States, behind China. According to the CSET research, while studying STEM disciplines like mathematics, computer science, and engineering, the number of international Indian students considerably outnumbered their Chinese counterparts in six of the last ten years.
The inflow of Indian IT talent is beneficial to the United States. According to the NSCAI's final report, "nations that successfully attract and retain highly talented persons enjoy strategic and economic advantages over competitors." However, when a country loses its finest and brightest, there are often concerns about a brain drain. China and South Korea, for example, have taken initiatives such as the Thousand Talents Plan and the Brain Return 500 Project to encourage their best educated and skilled residents to return home.
A significant way through which India’s tech talent diaspora can help bolster AI progress in India and the U.S. is through collaborative research. While India is the fourth biggest producer of AI-relevant scholarly papers and publications in the world, this research has had limited effect, in part because Indian experts do not collaborate internationally.
Fostering research collaborations between Indian scientists and India's tech talent diaspora in the United States can benefit both countries by broadening perspectives and building connections via preexisting ties. Joint platforms, such as the USIAI, can provide a space for scholars to collaborate. Any long-term success on this front, however, will need governmental interventions to remove current hurdles to international collaboration on both sides, such as a lack of financing, visa issues, national prejudices, and rules forbidding data, lab, and material exchange.