India’s artificial intelligence (AI) infrastructure, the government is exploring a potential partnership with chipmaker giant NVIDIA. This deal aims to procure NVIDIA’s graphics processing units (GPUs) and neural processing units (NPUs) at subsidized rates. These subsidized chips would then be made available to local startups, researchers, academic institutions, and other users.

The focus on acquiring AI-capable hardware stems from the government’s recognition of its importance in fostering domestic innovation. GPUs and NPUs are crucial for accelerating the development and training of AI models, which are the backbone of various AI applications. By making these powerful chips more accessible and affordable, the government hopes to empower Indian startups to compete on the global AI stage.

This potential deal with NVIDIA aligns with India’s recently announced “India AI Mission.” This mission outlines a comprehensive strategy to propel the country’s AI capabilities. The subsidized chips would complement other initiatives within the mission, such as funding mechanisms for AI projects, development of public sector datasets, and upskilling programs to address the talent gap in the AI sector.

While an official agreement hasn’t been signed yet, talks between the Indian government and NVIDIA are progressing. The success of this deal would significantly benefit the Indian AI ecosystem. It would not only equip startups with the necessary hardware but also send a strong signal to potential investors and collaborators about India’s commitment to becoming a major player in the global AI landscape.

However, some challenges remain. Ensuring the smooth distribution of subsidized chips and establishing clear guidelines for access will be crucial. Additionally, fostering a robust domestic AI chip manufacturing industry would be ideal in the long run for reducing dependence on external suppliers.