"We also need to feed the materials into the value chain. We can identify the gaps in materials technology through these kind of interactions and try to build collaboration and co-operation between the two countries to bridge those gaps for mutual benefit," he said.
Apart from knowledge sharing and certification of materials, Midhani is also looking for a collaboration with US companies
for scale up and commercialisation of materials produced in-house so that these activities remain economically viable in the long term. Above all, it also wants the India-US ties to focus on developing alternate ways to reduce the dependence on China for rare earths having a wide range of strategic and commercial applications.
Referring to India's nascent efforts at finding alternate sources for rare earths, Jha said that the company has already prepared investment plans to produce tungsten and cobalt in India as the country cannot depend totally on import of these materials from one single country. "The steps taken by the US to reduce its dependence on China for its rare earths requirements was a move in the right direction. I think this is the right time India should also have such a plan. Even India and the US can join hands in this endeavour, " Jha said, adding that the future lies in cobalt, which has a wide range of applications, including EVs.
The participants at the US-India Defense conference, including private sector players, shared some of their experiences on how they were able to do better with collaboration with the companies of respective countries. Some of the participants also wanted a permanent platform to help explore opportunities for collaboration in continuation of the conference initiative.