In March 2021, the World Economic Forum (WEF) announced the addition of 15 manufacturing facilities to the prestigious Global Lighthouse Network. Two Indian companies were on the list – the Tata Steel facility in Jamshedpur, and the ReNew Power facility in Hubli. This is twice the number of Indian companies on the list last year. Many more facilities will likely be added to the WEF list, as several prepare to graduate their manufacturing businesses to keep up with Industry 4.0.
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Individuals now generate copious amounts of personal data everyday – both online and offline. Devices and infrastructure extract data, which can be shared instantly across borders with diverse entities - without consent. It is imperative that countries come together to create regulations to protect individuals who are unable to control how their data is shared and processed. A model already exists in the Paris Climate Agreement.
With an increasing human and robotic footprint in the solar system, there is a need to develop robust regulatory mechanisms to prevent the “forward” and “backward” biochemical contamination of these unexplored celestial bodies.
In its recent itineration, the Quad (or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) has been toiling since 2017, through deliberations among mid-level and senior officials, to develop a common vision for the challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region, challenges caused by China's menacing rise and aggressive behaviour.
On 18 Feb 2021, China and India completed a week-long border disengagement at Pangong Tso, ending a 10-month standoff. The Indian Army's Operation Snow Leopard, launched in late August 2020, provided India with strategic and tactical leverage during the negotiations. More broadly, India combined its political, technological, economic and diplomatic forces, creating a Comprehensive National Defense to counter Chinese adventurism. This infographic tracks the chronology of Indian actions, starting with the border standoff from Jan 2020 to last month's disengagement, nearly a year later.
The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) presents a unique opportunity to develop a Blue Economy, with security, sustainability and business profitability as its three pillars. An IOR Defence Ministers' Conclave held on 4 February provided a platform to discuss regional cooperation, linking development with defence, and emphasized India's pivotal position within the IOR.
As President Joe Biden completes his first month in office, his foreign policy on China and the Indo-Pacific will come under scrutiny. The choices made will be significant as they will define the future prospects of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. Given China’s long-term and comprehensive challenges, which encompass both, security and economy-technology, the Quad will have to respond with a matching strategy.
The recently-enacted China Coast Guard laws have renewed uncertainty in the South China Sea. India must work with the Quad to build collective maritime competence of maritime law enforcement agencies beyond the Indian Ocean Region within the Indo-Pacific.
The Union Budget for FY 2021-22 is due next week. ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and the continuing stalemate with China in Ladakh will guide Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to allocate financial resources for the defence sector. How will she cater to the defence services’ expectations? Will she unveil special measures to further ‘Make in India’ in defence? Listen to defence expert Dr. Bhartendu Kumar Singh, in conversation with Sameer Patil, Fellow, International Security Studies Programme, to know how the budget will shape India’s mission to achieve self-reliance in defence-industrial capabilities
Vietnam had a busy 2020, starting with its chairmanship of ASEAN and ending with the signing of RCEP, and a free trade agreement with the EU. All were completed successfully despite the pandemic, which it also handled well. It has revealed Vietnam’s dexterity and confidence, good management and societal control and raised the country’s global profile.