INDIA has a plan to turn into tech super power. SINCE 2020 Mr Modi has used ''production-linked incentives'' - the more you make, the bigger your government handout - to persuade mobile phone manufacturers to assemble more units in India than in any other country but China.

But such work can be performed with semi skilled labor in ordinary factories. Chip-making, in its difficulty, occupies the opposite end of the spectrum.

TODAY nearly all cutting-edge logic chips are made in Taiwan. As anxieties about China flare, and chips become more integral in every kind of technology, that seems increasingly risky to buyers and sellers alike.

The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, founded in 1987 by the chip legend Morris Chang, has been struggling to help America get its own fabrication plants or ''fabs'' going in Arizona, with help from President Biden's subsidy-in-fused CHIPS Act.

INDIA has no history of fabbing chips and virtually none of the hyperspecialized engineers and equipment needed to start. Still, it says it will make them here - and soon.

It took TSMC and other Taiwanese companies decades, driven by government spending and countless billions of dollars in capital investment, to get where they are.

Since last October, when the United States decided to hobble the Chinese chip industry's access to Western tools and workers, China has invested heavily on its chip makers, vastly more than India has to spend on its companies.]

Mr. Agarwal of Vedanta, the conglomerate that hopes to build India's first semiconductor foundry, believes he can start making chips in two and a half years.

To lead the charge he has hired David Reed, a veteran of chip-making firms around the globe including, like Mr. Chang, Texas Instruments, the American company that once was a world beater in chips.

Mr. Reed, a natural leader with a genial manner, intends to use his connections within the tightknit chip-making community. His assignment : Lure about 300 foreign specialists from fabs in East Asia and Europe to come and live in rural Gujarat and build a complex from scratch.

He is having to offer his new hires three times [ ''3x,'' he says quietly ] their current salaries. They will be ''mirrored'' by an equal number of Indian staff, who will eventually take the reins.

ULTIMATELY, Mr. Reed's hardest task may be persuading established players within the East-Asian-centric ecosystem to move to a place where they and their families had never considered living.

The land-and-power infrastructure he finds in Gujarat will be appealing to his expatriate hires, but the schooling, schools and nightlife are a work in progress. Yet, the homegrown candidate pool makes him optimistic :

India graduates more than 1.4 million engineers a year, including many of the highest quality, just as Taiwan is running short of fresh talent.

Making microchips also requires a lot of bespoke ingredients. Mr. Vaishnaw, the government official in charge, said India's biggest chemical plants were near Dholera and could pumpout the specialised gases and liquids needed to run ant chip fab. Seaports and railheads can ensure high levels of connectivity.

India's technology scene is exulting in the limelight. Its Chandrayaan 3 lunar lander reached the south pole of the moon in late August. Mr. Modi saw the Group of 20 summit meeting as a platform to show off India's digital-public infrastructure.

Even more of the urgent interest in India's making chips has to do with China, which is not the draw for the investment that it was for the past three decades. 

Mr. Modi has been telling nations not aligned with Beijing, that India has an important role to play in '' building a trusted supply chain. ''

India excels in the export of intellectually demanding services and in '' deep tech, '' With the notable exception of pharmaceuticals, its manufacturing companies have mostly failed to compete in the international arena.

Whether these plans succeed or fail, they make apparent a giant scale of ambition. They also make it clear that India sees a muscular role for the state, with a mixture of tariffs and subsidies to help its national champions off the ground and into global competition.

That kind of state capitalism puts it in company with China, but also the United States and other big countries that have belatedly engaged in versions of the same.

And that, in the end, might be Mr. Modi's supreme goal.

The Publishing continues. The World Students thanks New York Times.


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